Claude Monet, also known as Oscar-Claude Monet or Claude Oscar Monet was born to Adolphe and Louise-Justine Monet of 45 Rue Laffitte, in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. <p> He was christened as Oscar-Claude at the church of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette. His father wanted him to go into the family (grocery store) business, but Claude Monet wanted to become an artist. His mother was a singer, both parents were second-generation Parisians. </p>

On the first of April 1851 Monet entered the Le Havre secondary school. He first became known locally for his charcoal caricatures, which he would sell for ten to twenty francs. Monet also undertook his first drawing lessons from Jean-Francois Ochard, a former student of Jacques-Louis David (1748 - 1825). On the beaches of Normandy, he met fellow artist Eugène Boudin, who became his mentor and taught him to use oil paints. Boudin taught Monet en plein air (outdoor) techniques for painting.

On 28 January, 1857 his mother died. Now 16 years old, he left school and his widowed, childless aunt Marie-Jeanne took him into her home. In June of 1861 Monet joined the First Regiment of African Light Cavalry in Algeria for two years of a seven-year commitment, but upon his contracting typhoid his aunt Madame Lecadre intervened to get him out of the army if he agreed to complete an art course at a university. It is also possible that the Dutch painter Johan Barthold Jongkind (whom Monet knew) may have prompted his aunt on this matter. Disillusioned with the traditional art taught at universities, instead in 1862 he joined the studio of Charles Gleyre in Paris, where he met Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frederic Bazille, and Alfred Sisley. Together they shared new approaches to art, which later came to be known as impressionism, featuring open spaces and light painted with thick brushstrokes. Monet's 1866 Camille or The Woman in the Green Dress (La Femme à la Robe Verte), which brought him recognition, depicted Camille Doncieux. Shortly thereafter Doncieux became pregnant and bore their first child, Jean. In 1868, Monet attempted suicide but failed to do so. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), Monet took refuge in England to avoid the conflict. There he studied the works of John Constable and J. M. W. Turner. From 1871 to 1878 Monet lived at Argenteuil, a village on the Seine near Paris, and here were painted some of his best known works. Upon returning to France, in 1872 (or 1873) he painted Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant) depicting a Le Havre landscape. It hung in the first impressionist exhibition in 1874 and is now displayed in the Musée Marmottan-Monet, Paris. From the painting's title, art critic Louis Leroy coined the term "impressionism", which he intended to be derogatory. In 1870, Monet and Doncieux married and in 1873 moved into a house in Argenteuil near the Seine River. Some of Claude Monet's best known work was done in Argenteuil, including one of his famous garden scenes Monet's Garden at Argenteuil which he painted in 1873. He worked almost exclusively in Argenteuil from 1875 to 1878. The Seine at Argenteuil was one of his famous paintings during this period. The painting was recently featured in the hit movie Vanilla Sky, starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. Monet and Doncieux had another son, Michel, on March 17, 1878. Madame Monet died of tuberculosis in 1879. Alice Hoschedé decided to help Monet by bringing up his two children together with her own. They lived in Poissy, which Monet hated. In April 1883 they moved to a house in Giverny, Eure, in Haute-Normandie, where he planted a large garden which he painted for the rest of his life. Monet and Hoschedé married in 1892. In the 1880s and 1890s, Monet began "series" painting: paintings of one subject in varying light and viewpoints. His first series is of Rouen Cathedral from different points of view and at different times of the day. Twenty views of Monet's Rouen cathedral were exhibited at the Durand-Ruel gallery in 1895. Monet was exceptionally fond of painting controlled nature: his own garden in Giverny, with its water lilies, pond and bridge. He also painted up and down the banks of the Seine. Claude Monet made several trips to the Mediterranean between 1883 and 1908. During these visits he painted many landscapes and seascapes such as Bordighera. Famous landmarks were also a favorite subject for Monet in the Mediterranean. His paintings in Venice included the Grand Canal, Doges' Palace, and San Giorgio Maggiore. The Monet painting that was stolen in the movie The Thomas Crown Affair was San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk. Monet moved to Giverny, France in 1883. Shortly after his arrival in Giverny, Claude began developing the famous garden that was the inspiration for many of his most famous paintings. The Artist's Garden in Giverny is one of the most popular paintings. His garden in Giverny grew to include a water garden and a japanese style bridge. Water lilies and the Japanese bridge were the subject of many Monet paintings. Cataracts formed on his eyes for which he underwent two surgeries in 1923. It is interesting to note that the paintings done while the cataracts affected his vision have a general reddish tone, which is a characteristic of the vision of cataract victims. It may also be that after his surgery, he was now able to see certain ultraviolet wavelengths of light that are normally excluded by the lens of the eye; this may have had an effect on the colors he perceived. After his operations he even repainted some of these paintings. Monet died December 5, 1926 at the age of 86 and is buried in the Giverny church cemetery. His famous home and garden with its waterlily pond and bridge at Giverny are a popular drawcard for tourists. In the house there are many examples of Japanese woodcut prints on the walls.


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