Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) was one of the founders of the French Impressionist school. In fact the term itself was taken from his the title of one of his works- Impressionist Sunrise. His style focused on the ‘impression’ of colour and shape where light was the subject of the painting rather than the object being painted.
Monet was born in Paris to a singer-mother and a grocer-father who wanted him to get into the family business. He began his art instruction at the Le Havre secondary school of the arts and would sell his charcoal drawings to make extra pocket money. He briefly enlisted in the army but was discharged after contracting typhoid. He returned to Paris where he lived with his aunt and took art lessons. Monet was not stimulated by the art being produced at the time and along with other artists in Paris he began to paint the effects of light in the open with broken colour and rapid brushstrokes.
When the Franco-Prussian war broke out in Europe, Monet moved to England with his family. He was always drawn to painting outside and here he began to experiment with the effect of light on colour and how perspective blurred shapes seen at a distance.
The word impressionist was used to make fun of Claude Monet’s work but he adopted the name much to his benefit. Over the years he perfected his vision of the world through this style and his work has broken auction records at the Christies and Sothebey’s auction houses at over $80 million.
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