Claude Monet (* 14 November 1840 in Paris; † 5 December 1926 in Giverny, born Oscar-Claude Monet) was a French painter, a founder of French Impressionist painting and the most consistent and prolific exponent of that movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions in front of nature, particularly in relation to landscape painting in the open air. The term "Impressionism" derives from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise), exhibited in 1874 at the first Salon des Refusés (Exhibition of the Committee), which Monet and his collaborators organised as an alternative to the Salon de Paris.
The early work up to the mid-1860s comprises realistic paintings, some of which Monet exhibited at the Paris Salon. In the late 1860s Claude Monet began to paint Impressionist paintings. An example of his paintings from this creative period is Impression, Sunrise, a harbour view of Le Havre, which gave the name to the whole movement. He thus moved away from the taste of the time, influenced by the traditional art academies, which worsened his financial situation.
In the 1870s Monet took part in some of the Impressionist exhibitions, which also included artists such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas, and was particularly encouraged by the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel.
Monet's desire to document the French landscape led him to paint the same scene over and over again to capture the changing light and passing of the seasons.
From 1883 Monet lived in Giverny, where he bought a house and land and began an extensive landscape project that included lily ponds, which would become the subject of his most famous works. He began painting the water lilies in 1899, first in vertical views with a Japanese bridge as the central feature, and later in the series of large-scale paintings that occupied him continuously for the next 20 years of his life.
Monet's financial situation remained strained until the 1890s. It was during this period that Monet developed the concept of the series, according to which he painted a motif in different light moods. He also began to lay out his famous garden in Giverny, which he subsequently also used as a motif for his paintings.
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124 | Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies (Brücke über einen Seerosenteich), 1899
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