Claude Monet's life story in short. How he painted and evolved the Impressionist style. Why his painings are so appealing even today.
Claude Monet French Impressionist Painter
In my student days in New York, I frequented the Museum of Modern Art on the 58th St. Every time I visited the Museum I had an impulsive urge to spend at least 2-3 minutes watching the water lilies of Monet. It was a fabulous painting and no matter how many times I looked at it, it never got me bored.
Monet was one of the first to paint landscapes by looking at them with the newly marketed oil paints in tubes which made painting outdoors feasible. As he painted he became fascinated by the seasonal changes on the same landscape. The changing nature of trees, vegetation, sky and clouds caught his perceptive mind. He painted the same scene again and again in different seasons and at different times of the day. In doing that he perfected how to render the season’s impression on the canvas. His ability was recognized by the art critics of his time and they labeled his art as Impressionism. With his prolific paintings, Impression became the style of the day.
Why does his impressionist style attract you even today? I think because our landscape memory is the recollection of its impression stored in our mind. Monet painted not the landscape but its impression on his mind as he kept seeing it. He simplified the vision making it easy for us to recollect it. And that is why his paintings are classics. There is something which we learn about art when we see his work.
Monet painted a model named Camille. They had a child Jean in 1867. Three years later in 1870 they got married. Camille fell sick in 1875, produced another baby boy in 1878 and died of Tuberculosis in 1879 when she was only 32. They were then sharing a house with Alice and Ernst Hoschede in Vetheuil. Claude continued to stay in the same house even after Ernst Hoschede became bankrupt and left for Belgium. Alice helped Claude by taking the two Monet boys to Paris where she had her own six children. A year later in 1880 she came back to Vetheuil to live with Claude. After her estranged husband Ernst died, Alice married Claude in 1992. Alice died in 1911. Jean Monet, Claude’s first son who married Alice’s daughter died in 1914. Claude began to be troubled by cataract which affected his paintings. He had 2 eye operations. He died in 1926. But though his family life was a turbulent stream, Claude Monet maintained his peace with nature and brought out the beauty of his soul in his landscapes.
Monet was a great artist of all times. His wonderful scapes can radiate a creative ambiance in any place whether it be a home or an office. And this is reflected in the prices his paintings fetch in art auctions. Recently his work “The Railroad Bridge at Argenteuil,” painted in 1873 fetched a record price of $41.4 million!
I have had the opportunity to select a few of his painting photographs and compile them in a calendar. This is an easy way to put up Monet and his sense of beauty on the wall and make him a part of your everyday life. You can watch a slide show from here: http://www.youtube.com/v/N8nEc2yAu7o
The calendar is available at http://www.lulu.com/content/2548691
Dilip Dahanukar, 30th May 2008