Monday, May 28, 2012

Monet, Claude

The Stroll, Camille Monet and Her Son Jean (Woman with a Parasol)
Oil on canvas
100 x 81 cm (39 3/8 x 31 7/8 in.)

National Gallery of Art, Washington

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting.
Monet found subjects in his immediate surroundings, as he painted the people and places he knew best. He rejected the traditional approach to landscape painting and instead of copying old masters he had been learning from his friends and the nature itself. He observed variations of color and light caused by the daily or seasonal changes.

Monet collected 231 Japanese prints, which greatly influenced his work and that of other practitioners of Impressionism, the movement he helped create. Under the new Meiji Emperor, Japan in the 1870s was just opening to the outside world after centuries of isolation. Japanese handicrafts were flooding into European department stores and art galleries. Japonisme, a fascination with all things Japanese, was soon the rage among French intellectuals and artists, among them Vincent van Gogh, Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro and the young Monet.

His first wife, Camille, and his second wife, Alice, frequently served as models.
In his final years he was troubled by failing eyesight, but he painted until the end.