Claude Monet

1840、Paris ― 1926、Giverny
Monet was born 1840 in Paris and moved to Le Havre, a bay town on an estuary of the Seine soon after his birth. There he met ocean landscape painter, Eugène-Louis Boudin. Being fascinated by the then peculiar outdoor painting, Monet leaves Paris to pursue a career as a painter.
The art circles of the era were very conservative. Salons (sponsored by the government) were the only place to present the artworks where only realistic historical and mythical paintings created delicately in ateliers were considered as the exemplary arts. Dissatisfied with the situation, Monet together with the painters with same intention including Renoir, Sisley and Pissarro formed a group.
With expanding railroads and the World Exposition, Paris those days were literally an international city. Within such environment, people of Paris enjoyed leisure in the suburbs and modern life. Monet and his colleagues travelled outdoor seeking sunlight and colors to depict nature and human lives. Avoiding mixed color, but placing bright colors with light brush stroke was soon achieved a name of divided brush stroke. In 1874, the first group exhibition became a scandal where many critics ridiculed them as the “impressionists” taken from Monet’s work, “Impression, soleil levant”. But today, the impressionism with Monet as a centric figure is considered as the most revolutionary painting activity in the modern art history.
In 1890s, Monet gained fame as a painter with his works such as “Meules” and “Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen” depicting same subject on different situation within a day such as climate and sunlight. In his 50s, Monet created a garden with Japanese-styled bridge in Giverny. He continued to depict that garden until his death at the age of 86. The lake of water lily became especially an important theme; Monet left approximately 200 works of that theme.