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Claude Monet Gallery     Prints.     Full biography.
Claude Monet (1840-1926)
Monet was born in Paris, studied for one year at the Académie Suisse in Paris and completed a year’s military service in Algeria. He painted directly from nature and used quick brush stokes to record overall effect rather than detail. He and fellow artist, Renoir, did not use black or brown to describe shadows but instead contrasts of juxtapositioned colors.

In 1872 he painted Impression Sunrise, that led to the naming of the Impressionists In the winter of 1875 he painted snow scenes in Argenteuil. He spent 1877 painting the St-Lazare station. In the 1890s he worked hard on several series of paintings depicting haystacks, poplars on the Epte and the façade of Rouen Cathedral. In 1900, he embarked on his two most ambitious projects, the series depicting the Thames and the series depicting his beloved water garden at Giverny, which he continued to work on until his death.
Bank of the Seine
Haystack at Giverny
Pond at Montgeron
Wheatstacks
Parliament
Water Lilies
Rouen Cathedrale

Viewer

Wheatstacks, Giverny, 1891
Oil on canvas
25 1/2 x 39 1/4 in.

In the fall of 1890, Impressionist Claude Monet arranged to have the wheatstacks near his home left out over the winter. By the following summer he had painted them at least thirty times, at different times throughout the seasons. Wheatstacks was Monet's first series and the first in which he concentrated on a single subject, differentiating pictures only by color, touch, composition, and lighting and weather conditions. He said, "For me a landscape hardly exists at all as a landscape, because its appearance is constantly changing; but it lives by virtue of its surroundings, the air and the light which vary continually."

After beginning outdoors, Monet reworked each painting in his studio to create the color harmonies that unify each canvas. The pinks in the sky echo the snow's reflections, and the blues of the wheatstacks' shadows are found in the wintry light shining on the stacks, in the houses' roofs, and in the snowy earth. With raised, broken brushstrokes, Monet captured nuances of light and created a solid, geometric structure that prevents the surface from simply melting into blobs. The wheatstacks are solid forms, and, while the outlying houses are indecipherable close-up, they are clear from a distance.
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