Art Appreciation Newsletter 27.May.2020
As we are no longer able to meet as a group we have resorted to an emailed overview of the life and works of The Art Nouveau Movement, which was described in my previous newsletter and for the following study we looked at the life and works of Claude Monet, again sent out as an email covering 2 sides of A4, to try to do justice to this great master of painting!
This is a much-condensed resume of our study.
Monet was working through the later part of the 19C and early 20C. It was he who gave the Impressionists their name, from his painting, “Impression, Sunrise.”
The Impressionists’ aim was to capture the fleeting effects of light on colour. One of their techniques was to paint in rapid brush strokes and to use broken colour. The advent of tubes of paint made it much easier to work en plein air.
Monet’s father had expected him to follow him into the family business. This did not happen as Monet was fired up by his desire to paint. Sadly, this began a family rift. When he was 16, his mother died and he went to live with his Aunt. Years later, when Monet was in the Army, in north Africa, he caught typhus at the end of his first year and it was his Aunt who bought him out, on condition that he painted. He would otherwise have been there for the full 7 years.
Monet moved to England with his family in 1870 and would have become familiar with the works of Turner and Constable, enjoying their brilliant paintings at the galleries. Turner’s wild and colourful skies, capturing light and energy, are hugely impressionistic. These were a major inspiration for Monet. It is said that Turner is the father of Modern Art.
Sadly, Monet’s wife, Camille, died as a young woman, age 32, from TB and Cancer, leaving two little boys.
In the fulness of time Monet bought the house at Giverny, not realising it would become world famous because of his painting! Monet’s wonderful house and garden at Giverny was the subject of many of his paintings, which have delighted large numbers of visitors over the years.
Monet painted his water lilies many times, each painting of them being different because of the changing light. Some of his paintings are huge, occupying a whole wall. In the Orangerie, in Paris, his water lilies cover four walls and he required tall step ladders and planking to undertake the massive scale of the work. Such achievement, large numbers of his paintings hang in international galleries.
Following Monet’s death from lung cancer, at 86, his son, Michel bequeathed Monet’s home to The French Academy of Fine Arts.
Michel set up the Claude Monet Foundation, now, alongside is the Museum of Impressionism. The whole site gives huge pleasure to visitors from all over the world.
I wish that Monet’s father could have known.