Famous Monet Oil Paintings
A Rare Monet Self-Portrait
The Life and Times of Claude Monet
Claude Monet was born in Paris, France on November 14, 1840. His father wanted him to go into the family grocery business, but Claude, who was nicknamed "Oscar" by his parents, had other plans.
Claude wanted to become an artist. His mother was a singer, and so she encouraged him, though his father thought it wasn't a practical occupation. The family moved to Le Havre, in Normandy, when Claude Monet was about 11 years of age. He attended a secondary school of the arts in Le Havre, and was mentored by Eugene Boudin, who taught him how to use oil paints, and took him to the beach at Normandy, to learn outdoor techniques for oil painting.
Even in his early teens, Monet managed to sell charcoal sketches and caricatures to tourists for a few francs.
In January of 1857, Claude's mother died, and he he moved back to Paris to live with an aunt. He was 16 years of age at the time, and just beginning to find his artist's voice in painting. Claude Monet was the founder and mainstay of the brand-new Impressionistic school of painting. What happened was this--when he moved back to Paris, he saw all the other artists of his generation at the Louvre, diligently copying the Old Masters, and making artwork in imitation of the Old Masters. Claude Monet looked out the window instead, and painted what he saw there.
Claude Monet volunteered for military service at the age of 20 years. This was typical of his generation of Parisians, as the French had a mandate for military service for single young men. It was either voluntarily join the army or get married! There were exemptions for certain occupations but not that of an artist.
Claude Monet saw military service in Africa, in Algeria. He signed up for the whole seven years with the First Regiment of African Light Calvary (can you picture Claude Monet on a horse?) but only served two years, having contracted typhoid fever.
When Claude Monet returned to Paris from Africa, he met some seminal artists who were also disenchanted with traditional oil painting techniques. In the middle 1860s Claude Monet was friends with Pierre-Auguste Renoir and a student of Charles Gleyre. They focused on painting light--the exact rendering of the subject wasn't as important in the painting as the treatment of light and shadow; they used quick, short brushstrokes and dabbles of different colors to create this rippled, dappled, soft-focus effect, called Impressionism.
Monet's first experience of critical success in the art world was "Camille" or, "The woman in the Green Dress"--"La femme a la robe verte"; painted in 1866. Camille Doncieux, the model for the painting, would later become his wife.
Of all the many Monet paintings, and Monet was a prolific artist who lived a long life, I love the ones of Camille the best, though they are probably not the most well-known or notable of his paintings. You can tell THESE pictures were painted with love, and Camille has a completely enchanting face.
Ah-pictures of Camille
Camille Monet gave birth to their first child, Jean Monet, in 1868 and in 1870, the family moved to England at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war. Claude Monet was fascinated by John Constable's paintings, also William Turner's. Their paintings influenced Monet to develop Impressionism to a higher art and refine landscape techniques, making more vivid color a keynote of the painting.
The Monet family remained exiled from France for the duration of the Franco-Prussian war; moving briefly to the Netherlands; visiting Amsterdam, but eventually finding themselves back home in France, in 1871, in a village on the banks of the Seine, near Paris, called Argenteuil, where they settled down happily. Monet's 1872 painting, called "Sunrise" hung in the very first Impressionist exhibition in 1874, in Paris.
Camille Monet died of tuberculosis in September of 1879. She was the mother of two sons, having given birth of Michel Monet in March of 1878.
Claude Monet mourned her deeply. He moved; first to a house of friend in Vetheuil who helped him by looking after the children; later to Poissy, which Monet disliked on sight, and then finally to a lovely home in Giverny, in Normandy, where Claude Monet made the garden which was either the backdrop or the focus of much of his most famous works of art.
The More Famous Monet Oil Paintings
Which Monet is more familiar to you?
Monet for the Money
By the late 1890's, Claude Monet was rich enough to buy the house in Giverny, which he was only renting for the past ten years or so. His property had a painting studio in the barn; it had orchards and gardens and fields of poppies and lovely deep ponds with water lilies.
To the end of his life, Claude Monet was a highly respected and successful artist. His paintings sold well, and he had the time and leisure to develop serial paintings of the same subject, whether it be fields of poppies or water lilies or scenes from Venice, Italy, or the Rouen Cathedral, in different lights at different times of day, and using different color schemes.
Claude Monet died on December 5, 1926, in his beloved Giverny home, of lung cancer, at the age of 86 years. His former home at Giverny now attracts tourists from all over the world; it is maintained by the French Academy of Fine Arts.
His painting ""Le Bassin Aux Nympheas" sold at Christie's in London for a phenomenal $80,451,178.00 in June of 2008, making it the highest price for a work of art ever sold by Christie's in Europe.
Where does this $80 million dollar painting rank in the list of the most expensive paintings ever?
- No 5, 1048 by Jackson Pollock (approx. 140 million dollars)
- Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Gustav Klimt (135 million dollars)
- The Scream by Edvard Munch (119 million dollars)
- Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust by Pablo Picasso (106.5 million dollars)
- Man with a Pipe, by Pablo Picasso (104.1 million dollars)
- Dora with a Cat by Pablo Picasso (95.2 million dollars)
- Portrait of Dr. Gachet by Vincent Van Gogh (82.5 million dollars)
- Le Bassin Aux Nympheas by Claude Monet (approx 80.5 million dollars)
- Bal Au moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (78 million dollars)
- Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens (76.7 million dollars)