Claude Monet (CLAWD maw NEH) (1840–1926) was born in Paris, France. Even as a young teenager it became apparent that he had artistic ability. He would draw caricatures of his teachers on his schoolwork. A caricature is a drawing that represents the person, but certain features will be exaggerated, or made larger than they actually are. He began to charge people to draw their caricatures and was able to have a steady income and even save some money. He served two years in the military in Algeria on the continent of Africa, but he became ill with typhoid fever and was sent home to recover.
Monet had a small houseboat made. He would go out in the houseboat and paint scenes he saw from that view. He enjoyed painting outdoors observing how the light would change as the day progressed. He painted some scenes over and over again, and each would be different from the others because it was painted at a different time of day when the sun was at a different position in the sky. Monet was fascinated by light; the way it reflected off objects and the water in a pond. In his paintings he tried to capture this effect of light.
Current Loc Art Institute of Chicago
Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection
Water Lilies (The Clouds)
Water Lilies (or Nymphéas, pronounced: [nɛ̃.fe.a]) is a series of approximately 250 oil paintings by him. The paintings depict Monet's flower garden at Giverny and were the main focus of Monet's artistic production during the last thirty years of his life. Many of the works were painted while Monet suffered from cataracts. The paintings are on display at museums all over the world, including the Musée Marmottan Monet and the musée d'Orsay in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the National Museum of Wales, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Portland Art Museum. During the 1920s, the state of France built a pair of oval rooms at the Musée de l'Orangerie as a permanent home for eight water lily murals by Monet.
As part of his extensive gardening plans at Giverny, Monet had a pond dug and planted with lilies in 1893. He painted the subject in 1899, and thereafter it dominated his art. He worked continuously for more than twenty years on a large-scale decorative series, attempting to capture every observation, impression, and reflection of the flowers and water. By the mid-1910s Monet had achieved a completely new, fluid, and somewhat audacious style of painting in which the water-lily pond became the point of departure for an almost abstract art.