Claude Monet was born in Paris in 1840. He spent his youth in Le Havre where he worked as a caricaturist. His early mentor, Boudin, converted him to landscape painting. Monet attended Academie Suisse from 1859 and subsequently enrolled in the studio of Glenyre, where he met Renoir and Sisley. It was with these artists that he formed the Impressionist group. In initiating this group he became the groups leader and in 1874 he organized the first Impressionist exhibit. Appropriately, it is one of Monet’s pictures, Impression: Sunrise, which gave the group its name.
Monet moved to Giverny in 1883, and the extensive gardens and lily ponds provided the inspiration for his later works. It was these gardens that inspired the Waterlilies series. From 1890 he concentrated on a series of works in which he painted the same subject at different times of the day in different light. The most popular of these are the Haystacks, Rouen Cathedral and Poplar series. He continued to travel to London and Venice, but increasingly focused his attention on Giverny.
Monet is considered the archetypal Impressionist, and along with Renoir, Degas, Pissarro, and other like-minded artists, was devoted to painting the transient and softening effects of light and colour.
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