Oscar-Claude Monet, 1840-1926, was a founder of French Impressionist painting, practitioner of plein-air
landscape painting. The term "Impressionism" is derived from the title of his oil painting Impression, Sunrise. In 2004, Effects of Sun in the Fog by Claude Monet sold for US$20.1 million. In 2008 Le Pont du chemin de fer à Argenteuil, an 1873 Monet painting, was bought for a record $41.4 million. Just a few weeks later, his artwork Le bassin aux nymphéas (from Monet water lilies
series) sold for £40,921,250 with fees. -- Read Monet's biography >>
Claude Monet (14 November 1840, Paris – 5 December 1926, 86) was a French painter and one of the founders of Impressionism.
Born under the name Oscar-Claude Monet, at No 45 rue Laffitte in Paris, he grew up in Le Havre and was particularly diligent in drawing. He began his career as an artist by carrying out portraits of the city's notables. In 1859, he left for Paris to try his luck on the advice of Eugene Pudding and thanks to the help of his aunt. After courses at the Swiss Academy and then at Charles Gleyre and after his meeting with Johan Barthold Jongkind, all interspersed by the military service in Algeria, Monet is noticed for his paintings of the Bay of Honfleur. In 1866, he was successful at the painting and sculpture Salon thanks to the woman in green dress representing Camille Doncieux, whom he married in 1870. This whole period is nevertheless marked by a great precariousness. Then he fled the war from 1870 to London and then to the Netherlands. In the English capital, he meets the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel who will be his main source of income for the rest of his career. Returned to France in 1871, he participated in the first exhibition of the future Impressionists in 1874.
In 1876, he met Ernest Hoschedé, a patron who soon went bankrupt. In 1878, the latter, his family and Monet moved into a common house in Vétheuil. The death of Camille in 1879 and the numerous absences of Ernest, lead to the rapprochement of Monet and Alice Hoschedé. In addition to painting intensively the Seine, Claude regularly went to the Normandy coast to paint. In 1883, he, his two children and the Hoschedé family moved permanently to Giverny. It is from this period that the financial troubles end, and a certain fortune begins, which will only grow until the end of its existence. After the move, he makes a stay in Bordighera, on the French Riviera and then in Belle-Ile-en-Mer.
From 1890, Monet devoted himself to series of paintings, that is, he paints the same motif at different times of the day, in various seasons. He sometimes paints dozens of canvases in parallel, changing according to the present effect. It begins with the millstones, then successively follows the Poplars, the series of cathedrals of Rouen, that of the Parliaments of London and the Nymphéas of its garden, which it declines in large format to paint large decorations. Indeed, since 1903, Monet has been intensively engaged in gardening. In 1908, he also painted in Venice but without making a series.
The end of his life is marked by the death of Alice and by a disease, the cataract, which affects her work. It turns off at 86 years of lung cancer.
Monet paints in front of the model on the whole of his canvas from the first drafts, he then retouchs many times until the result satisfies him. Contrary to what he says, he finishes most of his paintings in a workshop, taking a model on the first paintings of a series to paint the others.
of a sometimes difficult character, quick to anger and discouragement, Claude Monet is a great worker who does not hesitate to defy the weather to practice his passion. Monet sums up his life thus in the best way: "What is there to say about me?" What can there be to say, I ask you, of a man that nothing in the world cares only his painting-and also his garden and his flowers? »
* Enfance et adolescence (1840-1858)
Claude Monet was born in Paris on November 14, 1840 at 45, rue Laffitte in the 9th arrondissement. He is the second son of Adolphe and Louise-Justine Monet, née Aubrée, after Léon Pascal, dit Léon (1836 – 1917) 1. Baptized under the name Oscar-Claude at the Notre-Dame-de-Lorette church in Paris at the beginning of the year 1841, it is called "Oscar" by his parents. He likes to say later that he is a true Parisian. His parents were both born in Paris, while his grandparents were already settled in the vicinity of 1800. The family, including paternal grandparents, settled in Le Havre in Normandy around 1845, the year of his five years. This move is certainly caused by the precarious financial situation in which Claude Adolphe is located. The influence of the latter's half-sister, Marie-Jeanne Lecadre, née Gaillard, wife and daughter of Havrais traders, is also certainly for something. It was she who, following the death of Louise-Justine Monet in 1857, raised Leon and Oscar1.
The young Oscar is not a very applied pupil according to his own words, but he appears in the annals of the Collège Havrais located rue de la Mailleraye, which he frequents from 1 April 1851 as "an excellent nature very sympathetic to his fellow disciples". Early on, he developed a taste for drawing and followed with interest the course of Ochard, a former pupil of David. His first drawings are caricatures (called "Portraits-charges") of characters (professors, politicians) of which Monet "enchains the margin of his books... distorting as much as possible the face or the profile of his masters" according to his own terms . He already makes sketches of boat and landscapes in "outdoors" on the motif.
On January 28, 1857, his mother died and he dropped out of school. His Aunt Jeanne Lecadre (1790-1870), who paints herself at her lost hours, greets her and encourages her to continue drawing. In the Face of the success of his cartoons, he decided to affix the signature "O. Monet" and to sell them to a paper-framer, named Gravel, former associate of Eugene Pudding who entrusted him with the trading of some of his paintings. This is where Claude Monet will meet, presumably at the beginning of 1858, a decisive encounter for his artistic career: "If I became a painter, I owe Eugene Pudding."
Monet began painting his first landscape paintings in the summer of 1858. He presents two at the municipal exhibition of fine Arts of the city of Le Havre, which takes place during the months of August and September of the same year. These two canvases, strongly influenced by the technique of pudding, are accepted and presented under the unique title: "Landscape." Rouelles Valley ". In the face of this success, Pudding advises his young companion to leave Le Havre for Paris in order to take classes and meet other artists.
* First stay in Paris (1859-1860)
Claude Monet arrives in Paris in April 1859 and settles in the hotel of the New World, Place du Havre7. He immediately visits the living room that has just opened. Then he was greeted by Amand Gautier, a friend of his aunt Lecadre. The latter pays him a regular pension and manages his savings of about 2 000 francs accumulated thanks to the sale of drawing to load. His father asked for a scholarship to the city of Le Havre on August 6, 1858, but this one refused. He also visited Charles Lhuillier, Constant Troyes and Charles Medic. The latter two advise him to enter the atelier of Thomas Couture who prepares for the school of Fine Arts However it seems that he refused the young Monet. Early 1860, probably in February, he entered the Swiss academy, located on the island of La Cité and led by Charles Suisse. He met Camille Pissarro in particular. During this year's show, he particularly admires the works of Eugène Delacroix, the previous year it was Daubigny that attracted his attention. However, this first stay is not only devoted to work. Indeed, Claude spends a significant part of his time in Parisian cafes and more particularly at the brewery of the martyrs, then high place of meetings between authors and artists.
* Algeria and return to Normandy (1861-1862)
On March 2, 1861, Monet was drawn to Le Havre to be conscripted. While his family could have paid the exemption of 2 500 francs, the latter is linked to his renunciation of the artist's career to resume family affairs. Monet refused to join the 1st African Fighter Regiment on 29 April 1861 and went to the station in Mustapha, Algeria. At the beginning of 1862, he contracted typhoid fever in Algiers and was allowed to return to Le Havre during the summer. His aunt, Jeanne Lecadre, agrees to take him out of the army and pay the approximately 3 000 francs that the exemption costs, provided he takes art classes at the academy. He leaves the army, but does not like the traditional styles of painting taught at the academy. On the other hand, despite the unpleasant experiences that Monet has experienced in Algeria, he retains a good memory in general. He says in fact to Gustave Geffroy: It made me the greatest good under all the reports and put lead in my head. I was only thinking of painting, dimmed as I was by this admirable country, and now I had all the assent of my family who saw me so full of ardour. In 1862, he befriended Johan Barthold Jongkind and found Eugene Pudding during his stay in Sainte-Adresse.
* Towards Maturity (1862-1865)
The same year in 1862, he began studying art in the atelier of the Imperial School of Fine Arts in Paris, led by Charles Gleyre in Paris, thanks to the recommendations of his cousin Auguste Toulmouche14. But he ends up quickly leaving his master's workshop, disagreeing with it on how to present nature. Indeed, Gleyre favors an idealization of forms while Monet reproduces it as it is.
However, this rapid passage to the Imperial School of Fine Arts allowed him to meet Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille16, with whom he subsequently maintained an important correspondence. In the spring of 1863, becoming a copyist at the Louvre, Monet goes, with Bazille, to paint before nature in Chailly-en-Beer near Barbizon.
In mid-May 1864, Monet returned to the Normandy coast and in particular to Honfleur with Bazille. He resides a time at the Saint-Siméon farm. Frédéric returned to Paris, while Claude continued to paint in Normandy. At the end of August, he finds Jongkind and pudding. From his Honfleur period in the company of these two painters, Monet will retain an attachment and have an essential influence in the genesis of his art. It was also during this period that a scramble with his family threatened to cut off his food. It calls then for the first time with the help of Bazille.
At the end of 1864, Claude moved with Frédéric to a workshop in Paris. It presents two views of the estuary of the Seine taken in Honfleur and Sainte-Adresse to the jury of the Salon of 1865: The tip of the Hève and mouth of the Seine. Accepted by the jury, these two works are exhibited and have a positive reception, especially from critics. He then painted on the pavement of Chailly his lunch on the grass (DE), a large canvas (4.65 × 6 m) which, given by the artist in desperation in 1865 and bought by him in 1920, will remain unfinished.
* Camille (1866-1870)
In 1866, he met Camille Doncieux, who became one of his models. She is represented in the woman in green dress, canvas that gets a great success at the salon of the same year. He also sent to the salon a paving stone of Chailly. He then painted women in the garden, first in Sèvres, then in Honfleur. This work, which shows for the first time natural and changing light, is refused by the jury of the Salon, in 1867 (the same is the Port of Honfleur, another canvas presented by Monet that year). In addition, the petition launched by many artists to have an exhibition of rejected works be rejected.
These successive refusals plunge Claude Monet into a very delicate financial situation. Despite the purchase of the canvas women in the garden for 2 500 francs by Frédéric Bazille, Claude is more than ever in misery especially since Camille is pregnant. He is therefore obliged to return to Normandy with his family. He spends the summer painting: The beach of Sainte-Adresse, Pier du Havre, Terrace at Sainte-Adresse, etc. Camille, whose family of Monet ignores the existence, gave birth to Jean Monet on August 8, 1867.
In 1868, one of his two canvases, ships coming out of the jetties of Le Havre, was accepted at the salon. However, the reception of this work is hardly enthusiastic and disappoints critics and artists.
At that time, he was often lent money by his friends, at the forefront of which Bazille. His paintings are often seized to the point that he attempted suicide in the spring of 1868. In the summer of the same year, however, it appeared under better auspices, as Mr Gaudibert, a wealthy Havrais shipowner, commissioned several paintings, including his wife's portrait. In addition, five of his paintings are accepted at the International Maritime Exhibition held in Le Havre. At the end of the year, Claude Monet lives with his wife and son in Fécamp, his family refusing to house the young woman.
In 1869, he moved to Bougival. On the island of Crossbreedy, in the company of Renoir, he paints the establishment of the Baths of the Frog (Bath in the frog), then invented the technique of Impressionist painting. That year and the next, all his paintings were rejected by the salon under the impulse of Gérôme. Despite his persistent poverty, he married Camille on June 28, 1870, at the city Hall of the eighth arrondissement of Paris.
* London and the Netherlands (1870-1871)
The entry into War of France in July 1870 did not raise any nationalist sentiment at Monet, nor was the establishment of the National defence Government. In this tense context, he wants to move away from Paris which becomes more and more agitated. He then moved to Trouville, where he painted many outdoor canvases, such as the beach of Trouville or the hotel of black rocks.
Frédéric Bazille, who often helped Monet, found death on the battlefield in Beaune-la-Rolande on 18 November 1870. At the end of the year, Claude did not want to serve militarily, and decided to go to London. He finds some of his acquaintances such as Pissarro. He admired the works of British painters Turner and John Constable and was impressed by the way of the first to treat light, especially in works depicting fog on the Thames. This stay is also an opportunity to meet: that of the American painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler, also influenced by Turner, with whom he befriended; And especially that of the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, who will be decisive for his career. Finally, this stay is also the occasion for Monet to paint (the London gardens and the Thames in particular) and to make further evolve its technique, always going further in the upheaval of the tradition. Desilvered, he painted only six paintings in the space of seven or eight months, which is very little for him. Among these is the portrait of his wife Camille, entitled meditation. Madame Monet to the couch, in which we can perceive this kind of depression that animated. However, Monet is interested in the light and wishes to return to London to paint the Thames, which he will do in a hundred paintings between 1899 and 1901.
His father died on January 17, 1871. But Monet does not go back to France and does not attend the funeral, fearing the welcome that will be made to those who, like him, have taken away from their patriotic obligations. At the end of May 1871, he travelled to the Netherlands and settled in Zaandam, with Camille and Jean. He painted 25 paintings during his four-month stay.
It was during a visit to Amsterdam nearby that he discovered Japanese prints in a shop and started the collection. He's going back to Paris on October 8th.
* Argenteuil (1871-1877)
In December 1871, Monet and his family moved into a house with a garden in Argenteuil, near the Seine. His father's inheritance and his wife's dowry make it possible to improve the material conditions. In addition, during the year 1872, he recorded major purchases of Durand-Ruel: 29 canvases in total, some of which were exhibited in London. It was also at that time that he acquired his boat-workshop which allowed him to gain access to new points of view. In December 1873, Durand-Ruel, a victim of financial troubles, must reduce and then suspend his purchases.
On April 15, 1874, the exhibition of the first exhibition of Impressionist painters organized by the anonymous company cooperatives artist opens its doors in reaction [to what?] in the workshops of Nadar, at 35, boulevard des Capucines. It presents the works of the various artists who will later qualify as Impressionists. In particular there is a landscape of the harbour of Le Havre: Impression, Rising Sun. By attracting only 3 500 visitors during its opening month, the event does not have the expected success and a large number of critics and journalists are hostile. To add to this rout, the company is on the verge of bankruptcy at the end of the event, obliging it to proceed to its dissolution. Finally, it is on the occasion of this exhibition that the term impressionist is used for the first time ironically in a critique of Louis Leroy, the Charivari of April 25th on the exhibition.
In April 1876, against all Odds, the second exhibition took place in the premises of Durand-Ruel. Monet exhibits 18 paintings. Critics are less virulent this time; Even more praise is directed at Claude Monet. At the end of the summer of the same year, he invested the Château de Rottembourg de Montgeron in order to work on the decoration of some of his pieces (he painted in particular the turkeys). The house belongs to Ernest Hoschedé and his wife Alice, née Reingo, from a wealthy family of Belgian origin by the father. They live there with their five children.
In 1877, he painted a series of paintings at Gare Saint-Lazare. Monet sends 8 paintings from this series (out of the 30 he presents in total) to the third Impressionist exhibition. For the first time, a magazine, the Impressionist, is published to accompany the exhibition and comment on the various works presented. It is also the first time that Impressionist painters have regained the term impressionism that they deem appropriate to designate and identify their style. The exhibition is a success and is the subject of a critical approval.
* Return to Paris then Vétheuil (1878-1880)
Beginning 1878, forced to reduce his lifestyle, Monet left Argenteuil and temporarily moved to Paris, Edinburgh Street. He manages to pay in-extremis his creditors in order not to be seized his paintings. On March 17, 1878, Camille brings to life a second son: Michel. She will never recover completely from this childbirth, remaining in a state of fatigue and continual weakness. Monet, worried about her, will often share her fears about her in her various correspondences. During this period Monet painted the island of La Grande-Jatte as well as the Rue Montorgueil.
In August 1878, the Monet and the Hoschedé moved into a small house in Vétheuil, near Pontoise. The former patron, Ernest Hoschedé, then went bankrupt because of his speculation on works of art; The entire collection, containing 16 Monet's paintings, is the subject of a public sale.
In the course of the year 1879, the worries related to Camille's money and health have alienated Monet from other impressionist painters as well as from Paris where he only goes to sell his works. However, he participated in the fourth exhibition of the group of Impressionists held, that year, Avenue de l'opéra. Monet exhibits 29 paintings. Made between 1867 and 1878, they offer a summary of the painter's career and his artistic evolution.
Camille, still ill, fails to recover. In an attempt to save her and finance the care she needs, Monet is selling off the last paintings he painted. In vain. She died on September 5, 1879 after long suffering. Monet testifies to the last moments of his wife by carrying out a portrait of her on her deathbed.
Camille's death will be translated into the painter by two breakups. The first one is of an aesthetic nature. It is clearly visible in the paintings it makes of the Seine taken in the ice during the rigorous winter of 1880 (ice Jams and icicles): Unreal colors, absence of human beings, etc. The second breakup is done with the other Impressionist painters. The latter do not really accept this choice and publish, on January 24, 1880 in the pages of the Gaul, a notice of death of Monet: The funeral of Mr. Claude Monet will be celebrated on the first may next at ten o'clock in the morning in the Church of the Palace of Industry-Salon Of Mr. Cabanel. Please do not attend. Another manifestation of this second breakup: Monet presents two new paintings to the jury of the salon, something he had not done in years. One of the two works, a painting of the village of Lavacourt, is admitted. However, exposed to 6 m from the ground, just below the ceiling, it goes rather unnoticed.
This failure is soon forgotten: the newspaper modern Life, led by Georges Charpentier, proposes to organize an exhibition dedicated to him. The latter opens on June 7, 1880 and presents 18 tables. It is accompanied by a catalogue which, in addition to the foreword by Theodore Durat and the description of the works, contains an interview of Monet with the journalist Émile Taboureux. This exhibition gets a real success since the painter makes enough transactions to pay off his debts.
At that time, Ernest Hoschedé was often absent, Claude, now a widower, lives with Alice and her children. This way of life is pointed out by the society at that time.
However, during the summer and fall of 1880, Monet regularly travelled to the Normandy coast to work.
* Poissy (1881-1883)
In 1881, the financial situation improved little by little, especially as Durand-Ruel regularly acquired his works. However, in December of the same year, unable to pay his rent, he moved with his two sons, Alice and the six children of her to settle in Poissy. Living under the same roof, their cohabitation becomes known to all; It was a scandalous situation at the time.
On March 1, 1882, the 7th exhibition of independent artists opens its doors in the Salons du Reichshoffen at 251, rue Saint-Honoré. This is the last exhibition of the Impressionists to which Monet participates. It exhibits 35 paintings among which are flowers of artichokes, two versions of the debacles on the Seine and the views of Vétheuil and Poissy.
Later, during the summer, then during the winter, Monet returned to the Normandy coast: first to Dieppe, then to Pourville.
On February 28, 1883, a new exhibition dedicated to Monet opens its doors at 9, boulevard de la Madeleine, in the new premises of Durand-Ruel. The 56 paintings presented offer a complete retrospective of the painter's career, from the first paintings of 1864 to the last made in 1882 on the Normandy coast. Despite this, the exhibition is not well attended and sales are disappointing, but the critics in the press are mostly positive.
* Installation at Giverny and Travels in series (1883-1889)
Eager to leave Poissy where he never really liked, Claude Monet seeks a place where he and his whole family (i.e. his two sons, Jean and Michel, as well as Alice and her six children) could settle permanently. His research leads him to Giverny, near Vernon, Normandy. In this small village, he finds a "peasant house" at the place called the press, bordered by a vegetable garden and an orchard, the Clos normand. The enclosed set of walls extends over almost one hectare. Its owner, Louis-Joseph Sarpong, consented to rent it and Monet and his family settled there on April 29, 1883. A tenant for several years, Monet will eventually buy the adjoining house and Garden in 1890 when his financial situation has improved.
At the end of 1883, he travelled with Renoir on the Mediterranean coastline. They both connect Marseille to Genoa and then visit Cézanne at the Estae. After a short return to Giverny, Monet resumes alone, from January 1884, the southern route. He goes this time to Bordighera and to Menton. Amazed by nature and wild landscapes, Monet paints about forty paintings representing the most picturesque sights such as the valleys of Sasso or the Nervia.
In November 1884, begins a long friendship with the writer Octave Mirbeau, who is now his dedicated Cantor and contributes to his recognition.
In 1885, on the occasion of a displacement on the Normandy coast, in Étretat, Monet entered into an agreement with the gallerist Georges Petit: Henceforth, the latter ensured the purchase and marketing of a part of the works of the painter. As a result, the exclusivity enjoyed by Durand-Ruel so far has been broken. At the end of the year, Monet announces his wish to treat only with small. Monet, not wishing to be totally dependent on galleries, maintains and develops its network of collectors.
In 1886, in spite of the rupture between the two men, Paul Durand-Ruel opened the doors of the American market to Monet by tying links with the American Art Association: The official recognition that he obtains overseas has the repercussions of developing the Market of Impressionist Art in France in the years 1890.
Still in the same year, Monet returned to the Netherlands, at the invitation of Baron Estournelles de Constans, Embassy secretary to the French legation in The Hague. During this visit, he discovered the tulip fields he painted several times (in Sassenheim, near Haarlem, Tulip field or Tulip field in Holland). At the end of the year, in search of original motifs, he decided to go to Belle-Ile-en-Mer to paint. There he made about forty canvases whose major subjects were the needles of port-cotton (the pyramids of Port-cotton, wild Sea), and the Bay of Port Dormois, in particular the rock Guibel64. He was interviewed by Gustave Geffroy, a critic at the Justice newspaper, led by Clemenceau. He became one of the most fervent admirers of the painter.
At the beginning of 1888, he returned to the French Riviera, at the Château de la Pinewood, in Antibes. He made about thirty paintings strongly inspired by the Japanese print. Ten of them were sold to Theo van Gogh and presented the following year at Galerie Boussod, Valadon and Cie, where they met with great success.
In February 1889, he went to the Creuse at Maurice Rollint's company with Geffroy and some friends. He returned to attend the inauguration of the Fourth World exhibition in Paris, where he exhibited three paintings, then returned to the Creuse, as early as March, only this time. During his stay, he painted about twenty canvases, nine of which were for the hollow ravine.
In June 1889, Auguste Rodin and Claude Monet jointly exhibited "Nothing but you and me" in the Parisian gallery of Georges Petit. This exhibition brings together 145 paintings and 36 sculptures and benefits from a catalogue showing a record dedicated to Rodin by Geffroy and a dedicated to Monet by Mirbeau. The painter offers a true retrospective of his career from the Pointe de la Hève in 1864 to the last paintings of 1889. If the glowing comments concern Rodin more than Monet, and if the latter is sometimes disputed, the exhibition foreshadows its future successes.
In 1889, Monet was totally involved in obtaining the subscriptions necessary for the purchase of Manet's Olympia and donated it to the Louvre. The difficulties and oppositions he had to face in order to carry out this transaction kept him away from his brushes for a long time: The return to painting is therefore the most difficult. It is on this occasion that he operates a turning point in his career by addressing to the series.
---------------- The time of the series ----------------
* The millstones (1890-1891)
The year 1890 is a pivotal year in Monet's life. The work travels become much more scarce. It comes the time of the series, a pictorial genre known to his friend, and whose idea had been imposed little by little with the stations Saint-Lazare, then for example in 1886 with the two tests of figure in the open air (the woman with the parasol turned to the right and the woman at the OMBR It turned to the left), the rocks of Belle-ile the same year and especially the petite Creuse in 1889, during its stay in Fresselines. This period begins strictly speaking end 1890 with the millstones, a series composed of more than twenty versions. These imposing wheat gerbiers are close to his home. He began painting it in 1888, but the year 1890 really marks the beginning of the tireless repetition of the same motif in search of different effects. This rooting is confirmed by the purchase of the Clos de Giverny in autumn 1890 for 22 000 francs.
Late 1890, Ernest Hoschedé, sick, is bedridden. Alice, surely remorseful, comes to her bedside. He died on March 19, 1891. Monet buys, at the request of his in-laws, a concession in the cemetery of Giverny in order to bury Ernest Hoschedé.
Just two months later, on May 4, 1891, an exhibition devoted to Monet opens its doors in the Parisian gallery of Durand-Ruel. Entitled Recent works by Claude Monet, she proposes, among other things, fifteen paintings of the millstones. In the catalogue, each of these paintings bears the title millstones, but with, each time, a temporal precision. The paintings as well as this detail of presentation are very critically successful, especially with journalists.
In 1891, Monet followed the course of the inept in search of a new motif that could make the subject of a series: the Poplars. He works there from late spring to late fall. On October 8, 1891, he paid the lumberman to delay the slaughter of these trees in Limetz.
Immediately finished, this series arouses the interest of the merchants and the galleries: Maurice playing, buys, for the gallery Boussod and Valadon several paintings; Durand-Ruel acquired seven of them for 28 000 francs and created an exhibition devoted exclusively to this series.
* The Cathedrals of Rouen (1892-1895)
In 1892, Monet sought a new subject that could be the subject of a series and not a natural element. His choice is in the Cathedral of Rouen. His first works, which he carried out from the House of Fernand Lévy, located in front of the cathedral, do not unfold as he wishes. When he returned to Giverny in April, unhappy, he refused to show the results to anyone, with the exception of his most loyal friends. He spent the rest of the year taking over all his paintings in his studio. He returned to Rouen on 16 February 1893 and positioned himself in two different places, but still in front of the building and at different times of the day.
That same year, Suzanne Hoschedé met Theodore Butler, an American painter. After a time of hesitation, the wedding is decided. Monet took the opportunity to marry Alice on 16 July, Suzanne and Theodore getting married on the 20th.
On 5 February 1893, at Giverny, he bought a partially swampy land and crossed by a river arm. It is ideally located in front of the house below the path of the Roy where passes a railroad track, which will make Georges Clemenceau say "and besides, he has the train at home!" In this House of Giverny, he proceeded to many facilities and created the water Garden and made the pond dig the Nymphéas. He is also increasingly interested in gardening as evidenced by his visit to the director of the plant Garden of Rouen.
He completed the twenty-eight paintings that comprised the series of cathedrals in the workshop in 1894. Like the previous series, the cathedrals are doomed to success and Monet knows it. That is why he will play the competition between the galleries, especially between Georges Durand-Ruel and Georges Petit. This scheme allows him to obtain the best conditions of exposure and a larger sum of money for the sale of these paintings.
For the series of cathedrals, it is Durand-Ruel who obtains exclusivity to expose it (at a considerable price of 12 000 francs for each of the paintings). This exhibition is held from May 10 to 31, 1895 and is entitled Recent Works, notes 1. Success is back to the rendezvous. Among the many critics of journalists, that of Georges Clemenceau, titled Revolution of Cathedrals, is particularly distinguished by the relevance and correctness of his analysis.
Finally, it should be noted that at the beginning of the year 1895, i.e. before the exhibition devoted partly to cathedrals, Monet travelled to Norway, to Christiana, the current Oslo. He poses his easel especially at Lake Daeli, at Mount Kolsaas, in Kirkerud or in Sandviken. He reports a total of twenty-eight paintings that he hardly reworked, when he returned to France.
* Beginning of the Nymphéas
The years 1896 and 1897 are going to be much quieter for Monet. Indeed, he devoted himself more to his gardens of Giverny: On the one hand by continuing their development and on the other hand, starting to use them as motif of his paintings (which lasted until the end of his life). Moreover, he did not travel much, except to go to the Normandy coast, notably to Pourville and Varengeville where he painted the fisherman's house or the cliff at Varengeville.
In 1897, Monet and his wife saw John, the son of the first, marry Blanche, the daughter of the second.
In the Dreyfus affair, Monet resolutely ranks on Zola's side from 1897 and expresses his admiration for the I accuse. He also signs the so-called "Manifesto of the Intellectuals" petition that appears in the journal Le Aurore, but refuses to engage in a support group.
In 1898, he learned of the death of his teenage friend, Eugene Pudding.
The beginning of the year 1899 is marked by the death of Suzanne at thirty-one years. Very affected by this disappearance, Alice experiences a grief which she will never recover completely. Moreover, from this moment Monet, in his correspondences, appears more concerned about his wife and the state of health of her. This concern led him to associate Alice more with her travels and activities.
At the same time, he began painting the Japanese Bridge of the basin, prelude to the Nymphéas. He also erected a second workshop next to his home.
* Travel to London (1899-1904)
In the fall of 1899, in the company of his wife, he performed the first in a series of three trips to London to visit his son Michel, who had lived there since the spring. During these three stays from 1899 to 1901, he painted a series dedicated to the Parliament of London and whose recurring theme is the fog on the Thames. The realization of this series continues with a work of alterations in workshop until 1904. The series views of the Thames in London-1900 to 1904 is displayed in May and June 1904 and constitutes the greatest triumph of the painter's career until then.
In 1900, the Impressionists were exposed to the world fair in Paris, a sign of official recognition. Their paintings, including two from Monet, are placed in the Grand Palais as part of the exhibition Centennial.
In 1902, Germaine Hoschedé, then, in 1903, Jean-Pierre Hoschedé, married, leaving the family home and plunging Alice into a deep melancholy. Thanks to the acquisition, a few years earlier, of a Panhard-Levassor, Monet takes his wife, in 1904, to Madrid and then to Toledo, in order to give him the joy of life. During this three-week stay, the painter admired the works of Velasquez and Greco.
In 1904, from May 9th to June 4th, Monet exhibits at Durand-Ruel. It presents thirty seven views of the Thames in London. Despite an undeniable success, critical voices, more receptive to the geometric forms imposed by Cézanne, manifest themselves, rejecting the dissolution of the forms that Monet shows in his paintings.
* The Nymphéas
After London, Monet paints above all the controlled nature: its own garden, its nymphéas, its pond and its bridge. From November 22 to December 15, 1900, a new exhibition dedicated to him is held at the Galerie Durand-Ruel. About ten versions of the Nymphéas Basin are presented. The same exhibition was held in February 1901 in New York, where it was a great success.
In 1901, Monet enlarged the pond in his home by buying a meadow on the other side of the Ru, the local watercourse. He then shares his time between work on nature and work in his workshop.
The paintings devoted to the Nymphéas evolve according to the changes of the garden. In addition, Monet gradually changes the aesthetic by abandoning, around 1905, any limit mark to the body of water and thus of perspective. It also evolves the shape and the size of its canvases by passing rectangular brackets to square and then circular brackets.
However, it is important to note that these paintings are created with great difficulty: Monet, in fact, spends time recovering them in order to find the perfect effect and impression and, when it fails, does not hesitate to destroy them. He continually repels the exhibition of Durand-Ruel, which must present them to the public. After several reports since 1906, the exhibition, called the Nymphéas, series of water landscapes, eventually opened on May 6, 1909. Comprising forty-eight paintings dated from 1903 to 1908, this exhibition is once again a success.
In the autumn of 1908, Monet and his wife stayed in Venice, at Palazzo Barbaro, in a passionate art elite. In such a good company, the painter often finds himself distracted and has the greatest difficulty in working. During the month of this stay, he only realized a few drafts. Therefore, a year later he carried out a second stay and realized, this time, many paintings that he would take back in his workshop. They will only be delivered in 1912 and exposed to the brothers Bernheim-Jeune.
Despite the success, the beginning of the year 1909 is difficult. Indeed, Alice fell ill on her way home from Venice and spent the whole month of January bedridden. Months pass without his condition improving significantly. It ends up turning off on May 19, 1911.
* Cataracts and large decorations
Monet then goes through a difficult period during which his health becomes more feverish and during which he alternates the euphoric moments and complete discouragement. He devoted his time to the paintings of Venice and, despite the reluctance of the quality of his work, exhibited twenty-nine at the Galerie Bernheim, from 28 May to 8 June 1912. In the face of success, exposure is prolonged.
In 1912, a double cataract was diagnosed in the painter. In 1914, he had the pain of losing his son Jean as a result of a long illness.
It was during this period that the idea of making a set of decorative panels on the theme of Nymphéas was germinated. Monet, encouraged by Clemenceau, regains the desire to work in the midst of World War. In order to achieve his goals, he built a large workshop in the summer of 1915 designed specifically to accommodate these large canvases. He first imagined presenting them in a circular room (form of presentation envisaged since at least May 1909), then abandoning the idea to the benefit of an elliptical room. This project occupies him for the rest of his life.
In November 1918, he offered Clemenceau two decorative panels, which he signed on the 11th day of the Armistice and the end of the First World War. It is, according to the painter, the only way he has to take part in the victory.
In November 1919, Clemenceau advised him to have an eye surgery.
In December of that same year, he lost his friend Pierre Auguste Renoir.
Monet became in the meantime a respected personality of all. Its 80th birthday in 1920, thus takes on a national event that the President of the Council of Ministers Georges Leygues intends to honor his presence, in vain.
In April 1922, a notarial deed is signed for the donation of nineteen panels that will have to be delivered within two years. A decree also appears in the Official Gazette of 23 June of the same year to report the donation.
Shortly thereafter, the painter's view deteriorated again. Although his relatives and Clemenceau urge him to be operated, Monet refuses. In May, he can hardly work anymore. All his attempts to start a new canvas are a failure.
After long procrastination, Monet eventually reluctantly accepted the operation of the right eye carried out by Dr. Charles Coutela on January 10, 1923. After two other successful operations, Monet certainly sees better but his perception of the colors is altered. In addition to wearing glasses, the operation of the left eye is recommended, but Monet categorically denies it.
At this time, he retouched the great decorations without any respite. The deadline approaching, he thinks, on several occasions, not being able to respect it and returns on his word of donation. But Clemenceau watches and does not hesitate to quarrel with his friend.
Several possibilities are studied for the installation of the large decorations. It is thought to expose them first to the hotel Biron, where the architect Paul Léon has to carry out a new special construction in the gardens, but finally the decision is taken in March 1921 to expose them to the Orangerie. The architecture then returns to Camille Lefèvre.
Monet, despite the reluctance of Clemenceau, obtained an additional one-year delay in the delivery of the panels. In addition, the painter regularly evolves his work, forcing the architect to continually review the installation planned for the exhibition.
It was at this time that he painted some of the paintings in the Japanese Bridge series, which shocked the taste of the time.
Weakened by incessant work, Monet contracted a pulmonary infection that nailed him to bed in 1926. Suffering from lung cancer, he died on 5 December around one o'clock in the afternoon.
The nineteen panels are presented by his son, Michel, to the fine Arts branch. Camille Lefèvre finishes the installation of the two elliptical rooms under the supervision of Clemenceau. The exhibition opens its doors on May 17, 1927 under the name of Musée Claude Monet.
------------- Death -------------
During the burial, Clemenceau in an elegant gesture removed the burial sheet covering the coffin of his friend, crying: No! No black for Monet! Black is not a color! ", substituting an" ancient Cretan in the colours of the Periwinkle, Myosotis and hydrangeas "117, notes 2. Then Clemenceau followed the convoy to the cemetery of the Church of St. Radegonde in Giverny where Monet was buried, and collapsed in tears.
The large decorations are installed in the Orangerie during the first months of 1927. His son Michel inherits all of Claude's properties. In 1966, when he killed himself in a car accident, his paintings came back to his universal legatee: the Marmottan Museum.
------------- Painting methods -------------
Monet would not have, according to his admirers, not used the sketches or the watercolours, which seems quite wrong since many sketchbooks of sketches and preparatory drawings are presented on the site of the Musée Marmottan for the series of "Gare St Lazare", on the Base-Mona Lisa of the Musées de France for the series "Étretat" or boats, or the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute of Williamstown who presented preparatory drawings and pastels. Monet also uses the photography he practices, for the series on London and Venice. For the painter, the first contact with the motif is of paramount importance. He takes the brush in his hand. "He suddenly begins to cover [a white canvas] with colour plates that correspond to the colorful stains that the natural scene gives him." From the first session the canvas should be covered as much as possible on its scope. On a canvas put on, Monet paints "full dough, without mixing, with four or five free colors, juxtaposinging or superimposing the raw tones". Monet also renounces the dark bases from 1865. Thus, a study to which Monet worked once is coated with thick strokes of about half a centimetre and distant from each other by two centimeters, which are intended to fix the appearance of the whole. The next day, returned to the scene, he adds to the first sketch and the details are accentuated, the outlines are precise. Thus, on a canvas that has benefited from two sessions, the traits are much closer and the subject begins to take shape. A painting must be pushed as far as the artist deems necessary, only he can determine when it is impossible to go further. It also gives a lot of importance to the details.
His paintings like the Nymphéas Basin, green harmony, or pink harmony reveal more than 70 000 keys per square metre.
The search for the effects
From the time of series, Monet looks for the effects in his paintings. He works on several canvases in parallel. Already in 1885, Maupassant notes that "he went, followed by children who wore his paintings, five or six paintings representing the same subject at various times and with different effects. He took them and left them in turn, following the changes in the sky. It only works when it has its effect. This method develops with time, for the views of London he paints on more than fifteen canvases in parallel, the twenty-two canvases of the large decorations are also painted at the same time.
------------- Style -------------
* Influences to other painters
Pudding is Monet's first influence by introducing him to the PAYSAGES8. His friend Johan Barthold Jongkind has certainly also influenced his early years. Charles Gleyre later taught him the painting in a structured way. The members of the Impressionist group composed of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Camille Pissarro undoubtedly influence each other, as was the case with his comrade Frédéric Bazille before. It is also known that Claude Monet appreciated the work of Eugène Delacroix. On his trip to London, he will see the works of Turnert and John Constable who certainly marked him. Édouard Manet also exchanged with Monet during his stay in Argenteuil.
Monet's painting is influenced by Japanese art. He has a special interest in prints painted by Hiroshige and Hokusai. He also made the Japanese in 1875, a painting whose bill was diametrically opposed to his other works. On February 1, 1893, Monet went to an exhibition organized by Durand-Ruel: It was dedicated to the prints of Outamaro and Hiroshige. This appointment is of great importance for him because he agrees perfectly with his artistic journey at the same time. His dining room at Giverny is also decorated with Japanese prints. Finally, another series of paintings that denotes the influence of Japan on its art is paradoxically the one about Norwegian landscapes, especially with views of the Pont de Løkke, since this corner of Sandviken made him think of "a Japanese village". Mount Kolsås made him "think of the Fujiyama".
* Synthesis of his style
Monet wanted to seize the real in "the mobility of its changing lights". His interest is on the effects of light that change according to the hours and the seasons. The evolution of the industry will give Monet a new impetus for its landscapes, it is through urbanization that the genre will renew itself. For example, he painted the Gare Saint-Lazare in 1877. At that time, these places were considered to be useful and of no aesthetic value. Monet's practice is to represent landscapes as well as portraits. However it remains in the optics to show the light and to restore the sensations raw. To do this, he reflects on the staging that could best represent the movement of light. The repetition of the motif is only a pretext for the painter, the object represented is much less than the evolution of the subject over the hours.
------------- Monet's Financial Condition -------------
Claude Monet had a difficult career start financially. If the first years his aunt Lecadre helped him, from 1864, he had to ask for help at Bazille. Monet then begins to accumulate debts, even if only to buy his painting equipment. Mr. Gaudibert by his orders assists him in particular in 1868. The arrival at Argenteuil Fin 1871, marks the beginning of a better financial situation, caused by the inheritance of his father and the dowry of his wife. However, the purchase stoppage of Durand-Ruel in 1874 corresponds to a return of pecuniary concerns. Quickly the rent becomes a problem, debts accumulate. He owes his survival with the help of Manet, Dr. Bellio, Gustave Caillebotte and Ernest Hoschedé.
Despite its financial difficulties, Monet is quite expensive. In Argenteuil, he has two servants to add a gardener. It also consumes plenty of wine. Finally, the family acquires a musical instrument, probably a piano. Upon arriving at Vétheuil, the Hoschédés guard their servants in spite of their bankruptcy.
Monet has a habit of making his creditors wait. As a result, bailiffs often come to visit him, he has contracted debts dating back more than 10 years. Thus in 1885, again it is threatened by seizure for a case judged in 1875.
In 1879, it is almost entirely dependent on Caillebotte aids for its survival. Yet the Hoschedé continue to have servants. At Vétheuil also the creditors parade. In 1881, despite the increase in income, Monet was unable to pay his rent and in December 2 962 francs. He used to pay his creditors late. In 1885 it is still threatened by seizure for a case judged in 1875. In 1887, he has shares, which indicates that he saves. In 1890 he bought the house of Giverny and the following year he lent money to Pisarro, the hard years were behind him.
Thereafter, he knows a certain degree of bourgeoisity with, in particular, the purchase of a car. Durand-Ruel sums up by declaring that "Monet was always a delight".
Monet is not always very generous. Thus at Bordighera, while his host Mr. Moreno invites him to the gardens of his villa, the Moreno Gardens, assumes the costs of railroad and pays the restaurant, Monet offers him in exchange... an apple. He was no more generous to rollint or E. Mauquit, who welcomed him to the Creuse and Rouen, respectively. His friends pudding or Pissaro not being better off.
It is only from 1910, that he seems to relax the cords of his purse. In that year not only did he offer a Thames to Charing Cross for the flood victims, but he sold three tables for 3 000 francs to the city of Le Havre. The donation of great decorations to the state confirms this change of mentality in the painter.