Born: 14 November 1840
Died: 5 December 1926
Birthplace: Paris, France
Best known as: Impressionist painter of water lilies
Claude Monet was a founder and central figure of the 19th century art movement known as Impressionism. Early in his career, Monet painted realistic landscapes, but after the 1870s he focused more on the effect of changing light on everyday objects. Often he painted multiple studies of the same subjects, from train stations and haystacks to the London skyline, the Rouen Cathedral and, most famously, water lilies. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) Monet fled from Paris to England, where he formed friendships with Camille Pisarro, Auguste Renoir and other figures central to Impressionism. He returned to Paris at the end of the war, but ended up settling in Giverny, where he began a long series of paintings of haystacks (or grainstacks) during the 1890s. Monet's Impressionistic paintings sold well and his financial success allowed him to purchase property in Giverny, where he built a large garden that became the subject of his series Water Lilies (1906-26). Monet's scenes have since become some of the most recognized paintings in the world. One of his lily paintings sold in 1998 for around $39 million, and in 2007 "Waterloo Bridge, Temps Couvert" sold at auction for more than $35 million.
Extra credit: Monet's painting Impression: Series (1872) is said to be the inspiration for the name of Impressionism... Monet spent two years in the military, in Algiers, before his father agreed to buy him out of his conscripted seven-year service.
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