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Claude Monet
Claude Monet (1840 - 1926), was a key figure in the Impressionist movement that transformed French painting in the second half of the nineteenth century. Born in Paris, the son of a grocer, Monet grew up in Le Havre.

He resided in Paris in 1859 and three years later he joined the Paris studio of the academic history painter Charles Gleyre, where he met fellow class mates Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille and other future Impressionists. Eugène Boudin introduced Monet to painting from nature plein-air painting (painting in the open air).

Monet was the leading French Impressionist landscape painter. Like Camille Pissarro and Charles-François Daubigny, Monet moved to London during the Franco-Prussian war (1870-1871). After his return to France he lived at Argenteuil (1871-1978) just fifteen minutes from Paris by train, then west to Vétheuil, Poissy, and finally to the more rural Giverny in 1883.

He exhibited in most of the Impressionist exhibitions, beginning in 1874, where the title of one of his paintings led to the naming of the movement. A period of travel followed in the 1880s, and in 1883 he acquired a property at Giverny, north-west of Paris. Thereafter Monet concentrated on the production of the famous series showing a single subject in different lighting conditions, including poplars, haystacks, Rouen Cathedral, and his own garden at Giverny. His homes and gardens became gathering places for friends, including Renoir and Manet, who often painted alongside him.

Monet often worked directly on large-scale canvases out of doors, then reworked and completed them in his studio. His quest to capture nature more accurately also prompted him to reject European conventions governing composition, color, and perspective.

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