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Learn more about Claude Monet
Claude Monet, the leader of the Impressionist movement, was born in Paris but spent his youth in Le Havre, where he began his career as a caricaturist.
In 1858 and 1859 he painted outdoors under the guidance of Boudin and Jongkind both of whom were interested in the effects of light upon objects and in
capturing various atmospheric conditions. In 1860 Monet went to Paris to study at the Académie Gleyre, where he met Renoir, Sisley, and Bazille.
The four young men, as well as Pissarro and Cezanne,
met frequently with Manet at the Café Guerbois, and it was from these associations and conversations that
Monet began to develop his own theories of painting. Between 1865 and 1971, he developed the luminous style that is most closely associated with the
Impressionist movement. Technically, this style results from the application of paint to white canvas in clear colors taken directly from the tube, and the
method is based upon the observation that objects take on color from their surroundings, from varying lights, and from other objects placed near them.
Shadow in an Impressionist painting is no loner a dense black that has no color, but rather a varicolored combination of tones, permeated by light. By 1872, after a stay in England where he studied the works of Constable and Turner which further crystallized his ideas, Monet was ready to set up his own studio on a boat at Argenteuil and to paint river scenes in which all nature is reflected in water. Monet's friends gathered about him, and during the next five years the Impressionist movement flourished in a happy atmosphere of mutual friendship and ideas. Throughout his long and ultimately successful career, Monet never ceased his studies of light and atmosphere. As the years passed, his work became more and more atmospheric in effect, and in such series as the huge panels of Water Lilies and the smaller paintings of the facade of Rouen Cathedral, it takes on a look that borders upon abstraction. In these late series the artist has carefully indicated the changes in color as light varies from sunrise to sunset and as atmospheric conditions vary
from bright sunshine to rain, mist, or snow, sharpening or softening outlines to create an almost hallucinatory effect.