Claude Monet was arguably the most influential painter of the Impressionist movement; even the word "impressionism" comes from one of Monet's

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        Claude Monet was arguably the most influential painter of the Impressionist movement; even the word “impressionism” comes from one of Monet’s paintings.  Monet’s paintings radically transformed the accepted styles of the time.  His work influenced countless painters and established the basis of modern painting.  However, Monet’s technique was as much the culmination of influences by great artists as it was his own creation.

        Monet was born Oscar-Claude Monet on November 14, 1840 in Paris.  He would later drop Oscar from his name, although until 1862, he signed his artwork with this name, while signing his letters “Claude.”   Monet only lived in Paris for five years until his father, Claude-Adolphe moved the family to Le Havre, a port city in France.

        At age ten, Monet enrolled at the Le Havre secondary school, although he professed much disdain for it:  “School was like a prison for me.  I could never resign myself to staying there even for four hours a day.”  However, Monet was fortunate enough to have Jacques-Francois Ochard as an art teacher, as he was a former student of Jacques-Louis David.  At this age, Monet enjoyed drawing landscapes and simple aspects of nature, such as trees, which mostly mimicked the work of previous artists.

        What is most interesting about Monet’s early years is his denial and contradictory recounting of them.  We know from surviving notebooks that Monet’s early sketches were mechanical and imitating of older artists, but he would later claim that at this age he drew “spontaneously” and “(covered) his schoolbooks with fantastic designs.”  Similarly, he would later allege to have held disdain for his next mentor, Eugene Boudin:  “His painting inspired in me great aversion…without knowing the man, I hated him.”  Despite these feelings, Boudin would be the man who set Monet forth on his style of painting.

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        Boudin also lived in Le Havre, and his artwork was often on display in shops alongside Monet’s.  How they met exactly in 1856 is unknown, but in a town whose population was 116,000 in 1900, the meeting of two artists whose work was sold in the same shops is inevitable.  Boudin introduced Monet to painting outdoors, which would later become essential to his style.

        In the spring of 1859, Monet sent a request to the city council of Le Havre to be granted a stipend to study art in Paris.  This request was denied, but Monet went anyway and studied ...

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