Born in Paris in 1840, Monet, at the age of five, moved with his parents to the Norman port of Le Havre. While still in his teens, the budding artist came to the attention of the landscape painter Eugène Boudin, who saw talent and promise in Monet’s youthful efforts and took him on sketching trips in Normandy. Monet’s practice of painting outdoors would determine what he would paint, and how he would paint, for the rest of his life. In 1859 Monet moved to Paris to study painting. Over the next few years, he became friends with other young artists who would join him in the forefront of the impressionist movement. Monet spent most of the 1870s painting near Paris, but in the following decade, he repeatedly returned to the Normandy coast. It was during this series of extended painting campaigns that he first experimented with simultaneously working on several canvases depicting a single site at different times of day and under different weather conditions. These paintings foreshadow the masterful series that would follow in the 1890s: Rouen Cathedral, Poplars, Grainstacks, and Mornings on the Seine. At age forty-two Monet made Normandy his permanent home, settling in the small Norman village of Giverny, where he painted the fields, valleys, and waterways near his home. Late in life the gardens and water-lily pond on the grounds of his home became his primary artistic focus until his death at age 86.
Oscar-Claude Monet (UK: , US: , French: [klod mɔnɛ]; 14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926) was a French painter and founder of impressionist painting who is seen as a key precursor to modernism, especially in his attempts to paint nature as he perceived it. During his long career, he was the most consistent and prolific practitioner of impressionism's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions of nature, especially as applied to plein air (outdoor) landscape painting. The term "Impressionism" is derived from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant, exhibited in 1874 (the "exhibition of rejects") initiated by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the Salon.
Monet was raised in Le Havre, Normandy, and became interested in the outdoors and drawing from an early age. Although his mother, Louise-Justine Aubrée Monet, supported his ambitions to be a painter, his father, Claude-Adolphe, disapproved and wanted him to pursue a career in business. He was very close to his mother, but she died in January 1857 when he was sixteen years old, and he was sent to live with his childless, widowed but wealthy aunt, Marie-Jeanne Lecadre. He went on to study at the Académie Suisse, and under the academic history painter Charles Gleyre, where he was a classmate of Auguste Renoir. His early works include landscapes, seascapes, and portraits, but attracted little attention. A key early influence was Eugène Boudin who introduced him to the concept of plein air painting. From 1883, Monet lived in Giverny, also in northern France, where he purchased a house and property and began a vast landscaping project, including a water-lily pond.
Monet's ambition to document the French countryside led to a method of painting the same scene many times so as to capture the changing of light and the passing of the seasons. Among the best-known examples are his series of haystacks (1890–1891), paintings of Rouen Cathedral (1892–1894), and the paintings of water lilies in his garden in Giverny that occupied him continuously for the last 20 years of his life.
Frequently exhibited and successful during his lifetime, Monet's fame and popularity soared in the second half of the 20th century when he became one of the world's most famous painters and a source of inspiration for a burgeoning group of artists.