Oscar-Claude Monet was a reputable Impressionist painter – and Impressionism’s founder! The style’s name was coined at an art exhibition in the 1870’s when a critic degraded Monet’s art, claiming it was simple and only concerned with light and form, rather than realism (which was his intention). Impressionists appropriated the term and it stuck. Monet studied art in France, where he was born and raised, much to his father’s dismay, who wanted his son to follow suit and become a grocer. As an adult, Monet bought a house in the countryside where he made some of his most famous waterlily paintings. His ambition became an obsession: he strived to document the changing light and forms of the countryside during various times of days and seasons. Monet struggled with poverty, illness, and depression, especially after the death of his first wife, when he stated that his artistry was not only a gift, but also a curse. Looking upon the face of his deceased wife, he couldn’t help but notice the color and light that formed her everlastingly still face.
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