Passport to Paris Artist Profile: Claude Monet

Passport to Paris Artist Profile: Claude Monet

Claude Monet moved to Paris in 1862 and worked in and around the city for the beginning of his career, briefly moving to his family home in Normandy in 1867 due to poverty. In 1870 he moved to London to escape the Franco-Prussian War. He moved to Giverny in 1883 where he spent the rest of his life creating and painting his elaborate flower garden. Facing poverty most of his life, Monet traveled extensively in order to find new subjects to paint and widen the range of appeal for his prospective buyers.

Key piece to look for: Waterlilies, 1904

Monet is known for capturing the light and color of a fleeting moment by layering small surface brushstrokes side-by-side over a loose underpainting. His sketchy 1873 depiction of a fog-covered harbor at Le Havre, Impression, Sunrise gave impressionism its name after critics adopted the title for the group of artists using this technique. He worked en plein air (outdoors) elaborating on this style in the 1890s by doing a series of paintings. Working on as many as eight paintings per day of the same subject, he would paint throughout the day as light and weather shifted. As he developed his flower garden and pond at Giverny in the 1890s, filling it with every color imaginable and adding a Japanese arched bridge, Monet painted water lilies almost exclusively for the rest of his career.

Image credit:Claude Monet, Waterlilies or The Water Lily Pond, 1904. Oil on canvas; 34 5/8 x 36 in. Denver Art Museum; funds from Helen Dill bequest.

Laura Barton is an intern in the Denver Art Museum's education department. Her favorite artwork on view right now is Louis Anquetin's Avenue de Clichy (Street-Five O'clock in the Evening).