Claude Monet (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Monet is central to the development of Impressionist painting in the 1870’s. In the 1890’s, Monet developed the concept of multiple views of one subject, and in the 1940’s and 1950’s the abstract Impressionism of Monet’s late water lily paintings provided a stimulus for the American abstract expressionists.
Although Claude Monet was born in Paris, he grew up on the Normandy coast at Le Havre. Yet the first intimations of his future vocation came not with landscape paintings but with a series of caricatures of local personalities which earned for him a considerable reputation by age sixteen. His direction changed after meeting the marine painter Eugène Boudin in 1858. Boudin, who was already a devotee of working outdoors, introduced Monet to plein air painting, which would eventually become the touchstone of the Impressionist landscape approach.
Monet used the proceeds from his lucrative caricature business to finance his first art studies in Paris in 1859, where he met the future Impressionist Camille Pissarro at the Académie Suisse. A photograph of Monet at age twenty suggests a romantic sensitivity, but later photographs portray a more rugged, stockier individual, with a square-cut, curly beard emphasizing his square face. Monet’s studies were interrupted in 1861 by obligatory military service, but in 1862 he became ill and was sent home, after which his parents...
(The entire section is 2135 words.)
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