Life and Times
Monet discovered his artisitic talent early. As a teenager he drew charcoal portraits of friends and family, which he would sell for 20 francs.
In 1861, Monet went to Algeria with the army for 7 year military service. But just a year later his father paid off his commission, and Monet signed up at art school in Paris. While at art school, Monet met Pierre-Auguste Renoir. They became good friends, and would often paint together.
Just as in his teenage years, Monet earned money by painting portraits - through this he met his wife-to-be, Camille. She appears in several of his paintings, such as Femmes dans le jardin. Tragedy struck when a few years later, Camille died, leaving 2 young children behind. Monet moved to Giverny, to a house with a large beautiful garden, which included a pond, overgrown with water lillies, and a quaint wooden bridge. Monet loved to paint the garden.
In 1847, Monet exhibited the painting that was to give its name to one of the most wonderful artistic styles ever. The painting's title was Impression, soleil levant. The exhibition was given a mixed reception; not many pictures sold.
Despite the poor reviews, Monet continued to develop his original style. He married Alice Hoschedé, the daughter of an arts benefactor. In the 1880s and 1890s, Monet became increasingly interested in painting a particular scene under a variety of light conditions - his famous 'series' paintings.
Sadly, after 20 years of marriage, Alice died. To help get over his depression, Monet constructed a massive studio to enable him to produce his huge water lilly scenes. These stunning pictures can be seen at the Orangerie in Paris.