Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Jekyll Island Beach 2012
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

M is for Monet--Oscar Monet, that is!




The Rogue Speaks:

It's time for the first Alphabe-Thursday of the new year, and our letter today is M. Yes, I know I did an M post, but only because I am not good at following the instructions that Jenny gave us!

So today I offer you Oscar Claude Monet, founder of French impressionist painting! You didn't know his first name was Oscar, did you??

Born in 1840, Monet was baptised "Oscar-Claude," but was called Oscar by his family. His father was a grocer and of course it was expected that Oscar become one as well. He had inherited his artistic bent from his mother, Louise, who was a singer. Realizing that Oscar would never make it as a grocer, his parents sent him to art school, where he learned to paint in oils, and learned plein air (outdoor) painting. He had already begun to make a little money, doing charcoal caricatures of his neighbors, who paid him around twenty francs for one.

Monet's mother died when he was 16, and he went to live with his widowed aunt who had no children of her own.It was while he lived with his aunt that young Oscar frequently visited the Louvre, and watched art students copying the paintings of the old masters. He always brought his paints with him, but instead of copying others' work, he painted scenes outside the windows of the Louvre.

Monet tried his hand at military life, and was sent to Algeria, of all places! He lasted only two years in the cavalry before he came down with malaria and was sent home to recover.

In 1862, he was back in Paris and had made friends with the likes of Renoir, Bazille, and Alfred Sisley. The four men began to develop a new approach to art, spearheaded by Monet. It became known as impressionism. The term "impressionism" came from one of Monet's paintings called "Impression, Sunrise," seen in the first picture.

(His friend, August Renoir, painted a portrait of Monet, seen above, as well.)

Camille Doncieux, seen above in the painting "Woman in a Green Dress", became the subject of many of his paintings. I thought I had finally found a virtuous artist, but Camille became pregnant and gave birth to their son Jean in 1867. I was very disappointed to learn that they didn't marry, but lived in sin until 1870. I guess Monet was just too busy painting to make an honest woman out of Camille.

Claude and Camille were not destined to have a long life together. She contracted tuberculosis in 1876. In 1878, she gave birth to their second son, Michel, and it so weakened her that she died in 1879 at the age of 32. Claude painted a portrait of her on her deathbed. I find that rather bizarre, don't you??

Monet had always been fairly successful as an artist, and if poverty struck, it did not last long! When Camille became ill, he moved his family into the home of a friend and the two families shared the house. After Camille died, the wife of the friend helped Claude,as he was then known, to raise his two boys. The wife's husband, who owned a fancy department store, went bankrupt, but by that time Monet was making quite a bit of money with his paintings. The man's wife became disgusted with her husband losing all their money, so she divorced him.

Eventually, Claude married the woman and they finally settled in Giverny, in Normandy. It was a lovely spot, and the beautiful gardens and ponds Monet created there were frequently the subject of his paintings.

I'm sure you all know that Monet developed cataracts, and that is why many of his later paintings are rather blurry. He was painting what he saw! He did have surgery on one eye, which improved his vision somewhat.

After a long and successful life, Monet died of lung cancer in 1926, at the ripe old age of 86.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about Monet Next week, my post will be about the letter "N." For that post, I have chosen the topic...

26 comments:

EG Wow said...

Thank you for this short biography of Monet. I have long wanted to visit Giverny!

Jo said...

Oh I am so glad you chose Monet ... I was wondering for months who you would chose for M ... and you chose one of my faves ... honestly, this is one person i would have loved to have met ... sigh ... and teasing us about your N topic ... hmmmm :)

Mary said...

I did enjoy this! I actually had not heard that Monet had cataracts :-) Happy New Year~

La said...

Great artists always seem to have torturous lives.

Bruce Coltin said...

You enjoy playing with us. And, you do have a way with a story.

askcherlock said...

Wow, what a wealth of great information on one of my favorite artists! I agree with La, in that great artists do lead lives of torment in some form. Out of that pain, art is born.

Gattina said...

I feel in Art school again, lol ! Yes his first name was also Oscar but only his parents called him like that, everywhere else he is listed as Claude Monet.
His wife was one of his favorite models and he painted her quiet often, maybe he just wanted to say good bye in his own way, when he painted her on her deathbed.

myorii said...

I absolutely love Monet. It's his paintings that got me interested in the whole impressionist movement. From there, I learned more and more about art and it's just incredible! Thanks for such a great lesson about Monet :)

nothingprofound said...

We have two Monet prints in our living room-he's a personal favorite of my wife. Despite his success as an artist and his relative affluence and beautiful estate, he doesn't appear to have been a particularly sanguine character. I suppose artists worry too much about themselves and their work to ever be truly content-though there do seem to be some exceptions. Cezanne once said: "Monet is nothing but an eye-but what an eye!" An ironic statement considering what you said about his cataracts.

Theresa said...

Always enjoy visiting your blog Judie! VERY interesting reading all about Monet. Learned oodles and have always loved his art.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Monet is one of my very favorite artists and I never knew his first name was Oscar!

Thanks for the art history lesson..love it...

Sarah said...

Some impressionists' paintings are showing in SF. I think I'm going to see them. I love their paintings and your post about Monet. Will be thinking about his eye when there. :)

BEAR's Mom said...

very interesting Judie.
i like the lady in the
green dress but only the
bottom half...it's so dark.
but hey, he was the artist,
i'm just the viewer :)
~victoria~

taylorsoutback said...

And here I am wondering who Oscar was??? Thank you for the revealing artist profile...had not heard he had cataracts either.
Thank you for this informative post.

JJ said...

I always appreciated the fact that Monet advocated painting what you see, not what you know. Where other famous artists went through phases, he never deviated from his goals during his career.

Judie said...

JJ, sometime what you know to be there is more important than what you see to be there. Our eyes can fool us, and adding something that you KNOW is there can improve your piece.

NanE said...

LOL, I did the same thing! I posted M and N over the Holidays, I didn't follow directions either. Loved your article today, tfs, Nan

NanE said...

I forgot to ask, did you see my painting I posted on my blog Tuesday?

Pondside said...

Wow - M. Monet lived a long time!
Thanks for the lesson - I enjoyed every bit of it.

MaƱana Mama said...

Good choice! I love his painting of the Thames at Westminster.

jlshall said...

Great choice for an "M" post! Monet has always been one of my favorites.

Thanks for visiting my blog, and Happy New Year!
~ Joy @ Joysweb

marisworld said...

Macabre - htat's what painting a woman on her deathbed is. Whatever next? Lovely as always your lessons on art and I loved your film review on King's Speech - can't wait to see it myself

mub said...

This is interesting... I never really knew that much about Monet so thanks for posting about him!

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Thank you for sharing about Monet! I am very near sighted and am "legally blind" without my glasses or contacts...I did not now about Monet's eyesight! I have always loved his paintings and have said if I painted without my glasses, I probably would do something like Monet's (of course, not that I could ever compare to Monet but...cuz that is how a lot of what I see looks without my glasses!

Blessings & Aloha!
Happy that you did this other "M" post! haha (and thank ou for stopping by! ...yes...Thanksgiving without the proverbial green bean csserole, just wouldn't be the same :o)

Juliana Matthews said...

I love Monet's work and have had the opportunity of visiting his gardens many times and have seen them when the irises and water lillies were in bloom. (I can be in France in just 2 hours thanks to the channel tunnel)
I love the way you are able to condense these biographies into such information-packed chunks - always leaving in the juicy bits!

★Mumsy★ said...

I love your Monet post, and I learn more reading yours than when I was in class. Life of an artist always fascinate me..

(About the church, catechism and everything about the church costs money nowadays. I never had to pay for catechism before with my other two children either. It was quite a blow for me to find out too!)