Biography: Claude Monet | French painter, key figure of the Impressionist movement.

(Claude Oscar Monet;) Paris, 1840 - Giverny 1926) French painter, key figure of the Impressionist movement. His artistic inclinations were born from contact with Boudin in Le Havre, and excursions to the countryside and the beach during his adolescence oriented further development of his painting.
After military service in Algeria, he returned to Paris, where in the Studio of Gleyre met young artists such as Renoir, Sisley and Bazille, and into the popular café Guerbois contacted a group of intellectuals, writers and painters such as Zola, swim, Cezanne and Degas, who along with Manet began to oppose the established art.
The painting pochades and études was, at that time, to the liking of the society whenever this will convey the subject of the landscape in small format. The early work of Monet, the coast of Sainte-Adresse (1864, Institute of Arts, Minneapolis), reminiscent of its initiator, Boudin, but acquires greater scope to apply direct painting subjects and formats of greater complexity and size.
Similar innovation can be seen in women in the garden (1866, Musée d'Orsay, Paris), the work rejected in the Salon of 1867, in which three women frolic in the field under a Sun so intense that their dresses reach the target in a State of great purity, with few intermediate modulations and marked divisions between light areas and shade. The instantaneity of the scene is made clear both by the dynamism of the figures, scampering and revolving haphazardly around a tree and the luminous moment precision. With this ambitious work, Monet moves away from the traditional treatment which until then gave the portrait - portrait of his first wife, Camille, had been praised by Zola in the Salon of 1866- and favors the integration of figures in nature.

Women in the garden (1866), by Claude Monet
Serious economic problems and the birth of her illegitimate son, Jean, in 1867, led to Monet to live a time of extreme hunger and poverty, as well as a foiled suicide attempt. During the Franco-Prussian War, the artist took refuge in England, where he met Pissarro and obtained financial support and friendship of Paul Durand-Ruel. There he was very interested by the work of Turner, who both would influence their perception of light and color. According to Monet, the painter who is placed before the reality should not make distinctions between sense and intellect.
From 1872, Monet became interested in the pond of Argenteuil as ideal place to adapt their technique to fast rendering of water and light. The work entitled Monet working on his boat in Argenteuil (1874, Neue Pinakothek, Munich) represents that kind of nautical laboratory from which the artist could navigate on the water of the pond appreciating changing lighting effects of its surface, which reproduced through several variations on a single theme. The barco-taller of Monet was radically opposed to the idea of study twenty years earlier he exalted Courbet in his work the Studio of the painter, and assumed a picturesque testimony of the main Impressionist aspirations.

Impression, Sunrise (1872)
The early light of dawn and their random reflections on the water can be seen also in the mythical work impression, Sunrise (1872, Museum Marmottan, Paris), painted in Le Havre. In little more than half a square metre numerous strokes overlap in a single general, neutral color, capturing the bright moment of sunrise and flashing reflections of the Red Sun on the water; the speed demanded by the transience of the subject conditioned format, technique, and even the title, condensate intentions manifest which gave name to the group when, in 1874, to show the work in the first Impressionist Exhibition, critic Louis Leroy employed the term to refer contemptuously, in Le Charivari, who until that time were known as the Group of Manet.
The first of the modern ISMS had already denomination and Monet was considered head of the group. From 1878 to 1881 the artist remained in Vetheuil, working on the line started in Argenteuil, without participating in the 5th and 6th Impressionist exhibitions in the years 1880 and 1881. After a stay at Poissy, which lasted until 1883, Monet, along with his second wife, Alice Hoschedé, moved to Giverny, where he lived until his death.
From 1890 Monet painting becomes more complex and initial the immediacy and euphoria are transformed into dissatisfaction and melancholy, in a difficult attempt to reconcile the technical fresh and expressive of his early years with deeper and more ambitious searches that could last for several days, months and even years, with the intention of creating works that imprison a greater complexity : variations allowing in their thematic repetition emphasizing the investigation of formal resolutions. Effect of snow (1891, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh), haystacks (1891, Musée d'Orsay, Paris) and Almiares, sunset (1890-1891, The Art Institute, Chicago) are works that are part of some of his first series.
However, the best known is it dedicated in 1892-1893 to the Cathedral of Rouen, which is evident, a poetic and didactic, so how the light variations alter the perception of the medium that modulates this energy, how light and color are inseparable phenomena of human perception. Monet painted fifty pictures of the Cathedral, eighteen of them of the portico, and said: "it might have performed fifty, one hundred, thousand, as many as seconds would have in his life..."
During the last thirty years of its existence, the artist worked around his garden in Giverny water. In an empty meadow which passed through a small Creek built a lush garden where a large pond filled with water lilies of all colours and surrounded by willows and exotic trees, crossed by a small bridge, oval, which would appear in many paintings of the period, as in the pond of the Lilys (1900, Musée d'Orsay) (, Paris) or lyrical composition titled the Japanese bridge (1918-1924, Musée d'Orsay, Paris).

The Japanese bridge
All the time and money that Monet invested in the construction of this garden was offset by the paintings that emerged; the water was again a mirror whose appearance was modified with the ephemeral and unpredictable changes of the sky reflecting on it.
There were also the known series of Lilys or water lilies that, later, associated with the contributions of Kandinsky, Klee, Picasso and Braque, as symbols of the birth of abstraction in Western painting, after long centuries of dominance of the figurative representation. The Lilys: aquatic landscape (1903, Bridgestone Museum of Art, Tokyo), water lilies at dusk (1916-1922, Kunsthaus, Zurich) or Lilys (Museum Marmottan, Paris 1919-1920) are large works which, in a way, can be referred to by the contemporary Viewer as abstract paintings.

Menufares (clouds), of 1903
Cezanne alluded to the ability of the artist to capture immediately and objective reality. However, his creative process went beyond the direct observation of nature, and employed the visual memory as indispensable resource for the finish of his compositions. The images that form in the memory are perceptions, equal to those determined by the visualization of the things, and between the two can emerge, as in the painting by Monet, a new conception of the pictorial image of reality. In his latest compositions of water lilies, the form is practically dissolved in spot-color, resulting, in some way, a foretaste of what would later be the abstract art.
Extracted from the website: Biografías y Vidas
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