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Claude Monet - His Path to Painting

Updated on February 28, 2012

Monet in Garden 1922

Monet in Garden, New York Times, 1922
Monet in Garden, New York Times, 1922 | Source
1899, Claude Monet, by Nadar
1899, Claude Monet, by Nadar | Source

Some of Monet's Caricatures

Caricature by Monet, of Leon Manchon
Caricature by Monet, of Leon Manchon | Source
Caricature of Henri Cassinelli - Rufus Croutinelli, By Claude Monet
Caricature of Henri Cassinelli - Rufus Croutinelli, By Claude Monet | Source
Caricature of Jules Didier, By Claude Monet
Caricature of Jules Didier, By Claude Monet | Source

Young Claude Monet

Brief Childhood History

Claude Monet was born in Paris France on November 14, 1840. He was the second son born to his parents, Adolphe and Louise-Justine . Within a few years of Monet's birth, they moved to Le Havre. His father was a business man, and he joined the firm in this area. The firm was within the family, a branch going by the name Lecadre. Monet's mother was a part of his life until he turned 17 years old, when she passed away.

The firm that his father became a part of, has to do with wholesalers and ships' chandlers. The Lecradre family was well established, and had a large home in the town. They also had property not too far away near the seaside resort of Sainte Adresse.

Monet attended Le College du Havre as a day boy. He studied drawing there under a very dedicated teacher named Francois - Charles Orchard. Orchard had been a pupil of Jacques - Louis David. It turns out that Orchard taught many students who later became known as artists. One of those students was Charles Lhuillier, who later became the director of Ecole des Beaux - Arts at Le Havre. He was the teacher of Othon Friesz and Raoul Dufy as well. So you can get the sense that he was in good hands from the beginning.

The Shaping of an Artist

Monet's mother was known for her beautiful singing. She was known for having a lovely voice. Being only seventeen, and with Monet's relations with his father being strained, it had to be a hard time on the young man when he lost his mother. He and his father didn't get along usually, but after his mother's death, it was worse than before.

Claude wanted to leave school without his baccalaureate. His father didn't want him to, but gave in somewhat reluctantly after a while. Monet had an aunt who was an amateur painter. She took him in, and allowed him use of her studio. It was a good thing for him, as she was sympathetic to his temperament.

There was some correspondence going on between Mme. Lecadre and several other of her artist friends. She turned to them for advice. Between them all, they were able to allow for and encourage Monet to continue to practice drawing.

Claude Monet, Coming into his own

Before long, Claude was well aware of his talent for drawing comics and caricatures. He turned this talent into a money making venture, and why not? Friends and families paid him for his drawings. He also sold some to well known personalities in the city. Can you imagine being one of the first to get one of these early caricatures? What a treasure! I share some of these caricatures here but there are many more.

Monet gained some inspiration from the Parisian press. At some point he had an arrangement with a local framer, as well as a color merchant named Gravier. This allowed him to showcase some of his art to passers by. More and more people became acquainted with his drawings.

This is where I found the story to get really interesting as there was a decisive encounter which took place for Monet. He later told his biographers that it was this encounter that led him to become a painter. The person that made such an impact was Eugene Boudin.

Boudin had been working in Le Havre and this neighborhood all his life. Some refer to this point of Monet's life as his "conversion story", making that leap from drawing to painting. Eugene had some frames made for his own paintings at Gravier's shop, so Monet had seen some of his paintings.

Monet hadn't thought too much of the paintings by Eugene Boudin initially. They were mainly landscapes and modest seascapes. He had painted them out in the open. Monet even thought some of the paintings were horrible, compared to what was in fashion at the time to him. He was used to the false and arbitrary color, and fantastical arrangements of other artists, and more fond of that type of art. This art by Eugene Boudin didn't do too much for him initially.

You can imagine how Monet felt when he learned that Gravier had recommended Boudin to him, saying something like how this painter would have so much to teach him. He probably was less than impressed. It might have been putting it nicely, to say he was reluctant at first. One day of course, they were in the shop at the same time, so they did meet. Boudin complimented Monet on his caricatures, but then went on to say that Claude must not stop there. In fact, he said, "You must study, learn to see and to paint, draw, make landscapes." Monet was a bit resistant to this advice. Months later however, and still doubtful, Monet and Boudin went out of doors together. He just had a hard time mustering up enthusiasm for those kinds of paintings, those like Boudin's.

Being Outside With an Easel

Where Boudin and Monet went, was not far from town. Boudin pitched his easel in the countryside, and began to work. Monet watched on, skeptically. Before long, Monet responded as if a veil had been lifted. He said, "I had understood, I had seen what painting could be, simply by example of this painter working with such independence at the art he loved. My destiny as a painter was decided."

It didn't take long for Monet to tell his father that this was the path he wanted to be on. He left for Paris and continued on. I was just so amazed as I read the accounts, because it wasn't automatic, or a given that Monet would be a painter. In fact, it was quite opposite of what I would have pictured. There is so much more to say, but this hub is dedicated to that passage from childhood through to the deciding point of wanting to be a painter. He had a lot of encouragement along the way, and was willing to face his skepticism head on. Imagine if he had never listened to the encouragement he received?

Eugene Boudin at Deauville -Trouville. A Man that made a big impact on Monet.

A Person that made such a long lasting impact on Monet's Life.   I love this photo, it makes me smile.
A Person that made such a long lasting impact on Monet's Life. I love this photo, it makes me smile. | Source

View of Bennecourt - Oil on Canvas

View of Bennecourt, 1887, by Claude Monet
View of Bennecourt, 1887, by Claude Monet | Source


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    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Patricia, glad to know of others that appreciate Monet's works, they are so beautiful. I agree, he used his gift and shared it with us! Thank you the angel wishes!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      3 years ago from sunny Florida

      Monet has always been a favorite of mine. He just gets it right, every time. What a gift he had and what a gift he was to us.

      Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Phoenix, I can see why. Ever since I saw his art for the first time, I was instantly a fan of Monet.

    • PhoenixV profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      Claude Monet has always been one of my all time favorites.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Seeker, it made me so happy to see you comment there, as I felt much the same way. I am glad I am not alone, and had no idea until I did more research what Monet's background or path to painting involved.

      I only just saw the hub by Movie Master, and look forward to reading it. It looks fascinating!

      Thanks for your comment and votes, I truly appreciate it. Have a nice afternoon. :)

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 

      6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      Hi Oceansnsunsets,

      I've just finished reading MovieMaster's awesome hub about her relationship to Monet and she mentioned how much she had enjoyed reading yours. I agree with her. This was a fascinating hub and like yourself, I to wondered what would have happened if Monet had not taken the advice given?

      He is one of my favourite artists. His work, for me, stirs up memories and emotions of so many different kinds - it's awesome! But I had no idea how he became an artist and so this hub was all knew to me and very, very interesting.

      This was a thoroughly enjoyable and absorbing article. Voted up + awesome + beautiful!

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Movie Master, I am so glad you liked this hub! I agree Claude Monet is so inspirational, and I think it would be so wonderful to visit the museums in Paris like you did to see his work there. I hope to do that one day!

      Thank you for your kind words, and comment and votes. I hope you have a wonderful day. :)

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi oceansunsets, I love this hub, Claude Monet is so inspirational, I have visited several museums in Paris and been fortunate to see some of his work, the large lily paintings are amazing!

      Excellent writing thank you and voted up!

    • Russell-D profile image


      6 years ago from Southern Ca.

      "Did An OIl Spill Inspire Monet's Lily Pond Paintings?" This posting was in 2010. Part of the story occurred as we approached the dock at Giverny, which was duplicated in his lily pond. I found the semblance interesting. Listed under Russell-D

    • TonyA4 profile image


      6 years ago from Santa Fe, NM

      If you are on FB I would encourage you to check out my Historical Collection of Chicano Art, & other works that 2 main artists have done, if not I have a couple Hubs you can sample it.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Tony, thank you for your comment. I also am amazed at these different artists of that Era. I am a true fan of all kinds of art, and agree with the hope that the "artworld" out there will champion other great artists with original ideas.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Dorsi, thank you! I feel the same as you, Monet is one of my favorite painters and it was interesting to learn his path from drawing to painting. The caricatures are so fun that he did. Glad you stopped by and thank you for the extras. I really appreciate it.

    • Dorsi profile image

      Dorsi Diaz 

      6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      How absolutely fascinating. Monet is one of my favorite painters. I had no idea that he started with cartoons. How fascinating! It just goes to show that if we keep ourselves open to possibilities we may enter that door that we are meant to walk through!

      Tweeted, Google plussed and fb'd!

    • TonyA4 profile image


      6 years ago from Santa Fe, NM

      I am always amazed at Monet, & the other Talents of the Era. First off even though this is not my favorite style of Art I have a profound respect for these Artists and there talents. I am also amazed how the ArtWorld thought they were such radicals in there style. I only wish that today's Artworld would have this type of prolific, & Original Artists and Champion them !!!!


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