French painter, initiator, leader, and unswerving advocate of the Impressionist style. He is regarded as the archetypalImpressionist in that his devotion to the ideals of the movement was unwavering throughout his long career, and it is fitting that one of his pictures--Impression: Sunrise (Musée Marmottan, Paris;1872)--gave the group his name.
His youth was spent in Le Havre, where he first excelled as a caricaturist but was then converted to landscape painting by his early mentor Boudin, from whom he derived hisfirm predilection for painting out of doors. In 1859 he studied in Paris at the Atelier Suisse and formed a friendship with Pissarro. After two years' military service in Algiers, he returned to LeHavre and met Jongkind, to whom he said he owed `the definitive education of my eye'. He then, in 1862, entered the studio of Gleyre in Paris and there met Renoir, Sisley, and Bazille, with whom he wasto form the nucleus of the Impressionist group. Monet's devotion to painting out of doors is illustrated by the famous story concerning one of his most ambitious early works, Women in the Garden(Musée d'Orsay, Paris; 1866-67). The picture is about 2.5 meters high and to enable him to paint all of it outside he had a trench dug in the garden so that the canvas could be raised or lowered by pulleysto the height he required. Courbet visited him when he was working on it and said Monet would not paint even the leaves in the background unless the lighting conditions were exactly right.
Duringthe Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) he took refuge in England with Pissarro: he studied the work of Constable and Turner, painted the Thames and London parks, and met the dealer Durand-Ruel, who was tobecome one of the great champions of the Impressionists. From 1871 to 1878 Monet lived at Argenteuil, a village on the Seine near Paris, and here were painted some of the most joyous and famous works... [continua]
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