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Art Glossary: Claude Monet


Monet sitting next to the waterlily pond in his garden at Giverny in France

Monet was born in Paris on 14 November 1840 and died at his home in Giverny, outside Paris, on 5 December 1926. In 1874 his painting Impression Sunrise, gave the name to the art movement Impressionism.

Monet studied art in Paris, first at the Academie Suisse (in 1859), then after two years of military service in Algeria at the atelier of Charles Gleyre, where he met artists who would become fellow Impressionists: Renoir, Sisley, and Bazille.

Monet exhibited at the official Paris Salon for the first time in 1865 (two seascapes of the Seine estuary), and several times thereafter. In 1874 Monet exhibited in a group show of artists who'd been rejected by the salon. The art critic Louis Leroy titled his review of the show The Exhibition of the Impressionists, after Monet's painting called Impression: Sunrise (now in the collection of the Musée Marmottan in Paris).

Monet was primarily a painter of landscapes, fascinated by the effect of light and the way it changed during the day. He used a painting technique known as broken color, and with visible brushmarks (rather than eliminating them). He worked both plein air and in his studio. In the 1890s Monet started working on series paintings, painting the same subject at different times and seasons. Subjects for his series paintings included haystacks, Rouen Cathedral, and the lily pond he created in his garden at Giverny.

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