Claude Monet

Born 1840. Died 1926.
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Works by Claude Monet at Sotheby's

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Claude Monet Biography

Claude Monet is often regarded as the founder of Impressionism and was an active proponent of the movement’s philosophy of plein-air painting. Throughout his career, he completed several pivotal paintings series – including Haystacks, Rouen Cathedral and Water Lilies – in which he captured the same scene throughout the changing of light of days and seasons.

Born Oscar-Claude Monet in Paris in 1840, Monet’s family moved to Le Havre in 1845. There the young Monet met the artist Édoauard Boudin, who encouraged him in the plein-air painting that would become the foundation of his oeuvre. Returning to Paris after the death of his mother, Monet became acquainted with the artists who would form the foundation of Impressionism, among them Édoauard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frederick Bazille and Alfred Sisley. During these early years of his career Monet and Camille Doncieux, his wife and model, lived in destitute poverty and in 1865 had a group of paintings seized by creditors.

Throughout the late 1860s and 1870s, Monet participated in a number of exhibitions staged in protest of the rigid formalism of the Acamedie Salon show. Indeed, it was Monet’s painting Impression, Sunrise, painted in 1872 and exhibited in 1874, which gave the Impressionist their name. Art critic Louis Leroy, intending to satirize the group titled his review “L'Exposition des Impressionnistes,” a label the the painters enthusiastically adopted.

In 1883, following the death of Camille, Monet moved to the village of Giverny in the Normandy region of France. There he would paint his monumental Water Lilies series of canvases. Begun in 1899, the Water Lilies series would occupy Monet for nearly 20 years and which he continued despite his failing eyesight until soon before his death 1926 at the age of 86.

Monet’s works are featured in top museum collections around the world including the Musée de L’Organerie, Paris, the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the National Gallery, London. Monet remains a favorite in the auction market. According to Sotheby’s Mei Moses, the average compound annual return for Claude Monet resold at auction between 2003 and 2017 was 11.3% with a striking 92.7% of 137 such works increasing in value.

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