Monet, Claude



Impressionism: partaker of 5 impressionist expositions:

Claude Monet


one of the greatest impressionists

some sketches

Claude Monet made one of the first impressionist paintings in 1867:
In 1867 Claude Monet painted one of the first fully impressionistic paintings, namely ‘a hut at Sainte-Adresse’. In those days many painters made their first attempts of painting in an impressionistic style. Monet stayed that summer in Sainte-Adresse and was using extra-ordinary bright colours (see R22,CR91-95+68+69;R15,p164). In most of these paintings his brushstroke was more smooth, what made them more static and traditional. On this painting however his brushstroke was more vivid, his colours bright and not fully natural (look at the turkoois of the sea). This was 7 years before the first ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874. When you compare it with two paintings he made 25 years later, you could guess this also was a work painted in 1882, when Monet had developed his impressionistic style to a mature level. Or… has he reworked this painting after 1867?

Claude Monet did not join all the ‘impressionist’ expositions:
Claude Monet was one of the most important impressionists. Still, he joined just 5 of the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions (=IE). He was active in the preparations of the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874 and showed 12 works, see 1IE-1874. He showed his picture of the Boulevard des Capucines, where the exposition was held. He also showed his famous ‘Impression, soleil levant’. It was the art-critic Castagnary (1874/04/29) who, in his positive review, linked this painting to the term ‘impressionists’ (R90I,p17) and not Leroy as many claim (R7,p26/27;R54,p75), following Georges Rivière in his necrology of 1927/01/01 in L’art vivant: “It was a work of Monet that baptisted the groupe as ‘Impressionists’ by Louis Leroy in le Charivari” (R357-1927,p17). But, Leroy (1874/04/25), in his cynical review does not give extra attention to this work (R90I,p26). Besides 5 paintings Monet also showed 7 unknown pastels, see the link for an impression.
At the 2nd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1876 Claude Monet showed 18+1hc=19 works (hc=hors catalogue = outside the catalogue). We can see that his painting style has developed to a more mature impressionist style. Many works were made in Argenteuil, where Monet than lived. Many works were loans by Faure, an important art-collector.
In 1877 at the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition Claude Monet showed 30+1hc=31 works. Seven of them were made in Montgeron, in and around the Château Rottembourg, the estate of his friend Ernest Hoschedé, who also lent 11 paintings of Monet to this exhibition. Even more notable was his serie of the Saint-Lazare station. But it is still unclear which paintings he did exhibit of this serie. And that for a well documentated painter as Monet. Bertall (1877/04/09) reviewed ‘Manet’s scepter is now held by M. Monet. (R90I,p131)
Though Claude Monet had been active in the organisation in 1877, at the 4th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1879 he didn’t even show up and left the hanging to Caillebotte. Some works were even send and hung during the exposition. Probably Monet showed 29+3hc=32 works in  1879. Partly it was a retrospective of some older paintings. But most of his paintings he exhibited, he had recently painted in Vétheuil and closeby Lavacourt.
In 1880 + 1881 Monet choose not to exhibit at the 5th and 6th ‘impressionist exposition. In 1882 Claude Monet had doubts joining a new exposition, but in the end the art-dealer Durand-Ruel overruled him and made sure that the 7th ‘impressionist’ exposition was held. Monet showed 35 works (see 7IE-1882), many of them depicted (the cliffs of) the Normandy coast and the surroundings of Vétheuil. In 1886 again Monet choose not to exhibit at the 8th ‘impressionist’ exposition.
In total Claude Monet showed the 3rd largest number of art-works, namely 129. This was a high average of 25,8 art-works per exposition. In 1874 Monet showed 7 pastels, but all the other works were oil paintings. Except for Camille Pissarro, Monet showed far out the most oil paintings at the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions.
See the link for an account of the exhibited works (references, translations, info, discussion, location on Google-maps).

Claude Monet at the Salon and other exhibitions:
Claude Monet made his debut at the Salon in 1865 with two works. In 1866 he also was accepted with two works. In 1867 his two works were refused. In 1868 one work was accepted, the other rejected. In 1869 and in 1870 his two works were rejected. In 1871 there was no Salon. Monet did not submit in 1872 and 1873. In 1874, 76, 77 + 79 he exhibited at the ‘impressionist’ expositions. In 1880 he submitted again two works to the successor of the Salon (the Société des Artistes Français), one was accepted, the other rejected. Sometimes his expected works were hung high in a corner, sometimes his work received positive critics (R22I,p159;R5,p39).
After 1880 Claude Monet did not submit again. He joined the ‘impressionist’ exposition again in 1882. And he had found other possibilities of showing his works (see also): at La Vie Moderne (1880=LVM), with Durand-Ruel (=DR; in 1883+1886 +1891+1892+1899), with Georges Petit (=GP; in 1885+1886+1887+1889+1898+1899), with Les Vinghts (= XX) in Brussels (1886+1889), with Boussod, Valadon and Co. (=BVC1888+1889) and smaller exhibitions in France and abroad. In 1900 he received recognition by exhibiting at the ‘Exposition universelle’. Many smaller and bigger exhibitions would follow (R22IV,p1016-18). Monet didn’t need the Salon any more, nor the ‘impressionist’ expositions.
See the link for his work at the Salon. See the link for an account of the exhibited works (references, translations, info, discussion, location on Google-maps).

Claude Monet was a key figure within the impressionist art-movement:
Probably in August 1858 (R51,p18) Claude Monet met Boudin (who later would join the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874) and started to paint en-plein-air. In 1860 Monet joined the Académie Suisse and met Pissarro. In 1862 Monet joined Atelier Gleyre and started narrow relationships with Renoir, Sisley and Bazille (see). Shortly afterwards they would paint in Fontainebleau. In September 1869 he would paint with Renoir in La Grenouillère. He joined the meetings in Café Guerbois and later in Café La Nouvelle Athènes (see). After Monet moved to Argenteuil at the end of 1871 Renoir, Sisley, and Manet would often come and paint with him (note: not Caillebotte as some sources say). Early 1884 together with Renoir Monet visited Cézanne.
Claude Monet supported in 1867 and 1869 the initiatives of Bazille for an independent exhibition and 1873/12/27 Claude Monet was one of the co-founders of the ‘Société Anonyme des Artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc.‘. In 1874 and 1877 he was one of the co-organisers of the 1st and 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition. He also did partake in the expositions of 1876, 1879 and 1882, but already in 1879 he had distanced himself from the expositions and in 1880 he exhibited again with the Salon (de la Société des Artistes Français). But after 1880 he also didn’t submit to the Salon also. He had found other possibilities to exhibit. All this makes Monet a key figure within the impressionist art-movement. But distancing himself already in 1879 from the ‘impressionist’ expositions and only joining 5 of the 8 expositions, did make him less important than Pissarro, Degas and maybe even than Caillebotte (see).

Claude Monet would often finish his paintings in his studio:
Many writers emphasize that painting en-plein-air is a main characteristic of the impressionist painting style. Also stating that the pre-impressionists of the Barbizon-school finished their paintings in their studios (R24,p16; R4,p9; R3,p646). But this vision is at least disputable (see). When people visited Claude Monet in Vétheuil, Monet liked to create the myth that he ‘never had a studio’ (R22,p162). Guy de Maupassant described in 1883 how Monet worked en-plein-air on 5 or 6 paintings to catch the different light effects of the different times of day (R22I,p211). And in 1897 the reporter Maurice Guillemot wrote that Monet ‘only worked in the open’. Nature is his studio and his actual studio must be called his salon (R22,p318). Later on in 1908 his second wife Alice Hoschedé described how he works every two hours on another motive in Venice (R23,p149).
But Claude Monet finished many of his paintings in his studio (R22). Early 1892 and 1893 he worked on his series of the Rouen Cathedral on a few spots opposite of the Cathedral, but he finished them later and even dated them 1894 (R22III,p527). In 1899, 1900 and 1901 Monet painted in London series of the Charing Cross Bridge, the Waterloo Bridge and the Houses of Parliament (R22III,p650). But many of these paintings he finished later and dated several of them 1902, 1903 and even 1904 (R22,CR1521-1595).
Russel describes beautifully how Claude Monet painted at different places which still can be identified today (R23). He mostly worked from the early morning onwards on several paintings at one time. Every day discovering new things, adding and removing from his paintings (R23,p116). But Russel also writes that Monet finished in 1912 the paintings that he made in Venice in 1908 (R23,p155).
How is it possible that Monet remembered one or more years later in his studio the exact influence of light on his topic? How did he remember the difference in colour he saw on his motive around 9.00 and 10.00 o’clock? I wonder if any art-historian ever examined this? Are there differences in the paintings he did and didn’t rework in his studio?
My conclusion is that when even Claude Monet, being one of the most impressionist painters, often finished his paintings in his studio, painting en-plein-air should not be one of the most characteristics of the impressionist paining style.

Claude Monet painted many series:
Painting in series is a characteristic of the impressionist painting style. Besides Monet, Pissarro and Sisley also painted series. In 1877 Claude Monet started with a serie of the Saint-Lazare station (see; R22,CR438-448). He often painted a subject more than once (from different angles), sometimes spread over several years. Examples are the coast of Étretat and the cliffs of Pourville and Fécamps (see 1882) and the Seine at Port-Villez. 1890 onwards Monet starts to make series in a more systematic way. In the Summer of 1890 Monet starts with serie of 25 paintings of grain stacks (R22,CR1266-1290). In 1891 he makes a serie of Poplars on the banks of the river Epte (R22,CR1291-1313). Early 1892 en early 1893 he makes 30 paintings of the Rouen Cathedral (R22,CR1317-1329+1345-1361). In 1896 and 97 Monet paints his ‘matinée-series’ (R22,CR1435-1437+1472-1488). In 1899, 90 and 91 he paints in London a serie of 85 paintings of the Charing Cross Bridge, the Waterloo Bridge and the Houses of Parliament (R22III,p650, CR1521-1614). In Giverny Monet will, until his death, paint series of the Japanese bridge (1895 onwards; see R22,CR1392+1419), the garden and the water-lilies (1897 onwards; R22III,p632). In 1914 he starts painting the ‘Grande décorations de Nymphéas’, who were 1927/05/17 exhibited in the l’Orangerie in Paris (R22I,p400; R5,p240). In his series it becomes clear that Monet also is a painter of mists (see-/-).

Claude Monet merely was a landscapist:
Claude Monet merely was a landscapist. The last 30 years his main theme were the waterlilies of his own pond in Giverny. Monet painted just a few portraits, still lives, interieurs and city-views. In his (outdoor) figure paintings he lacked to render the individual psychology of the model. So you can say that Claude Monet was one of the greatest Impressionists and landscapists, but also that he was a one-sided painter.

Oscar-Claude Monet, short private chronology:
Oscar-Claude Monet was born 1840/11/14 in Paris, 45, Rue Laffitte (R22I,p9). His father Adolphe was a merchant and moved in 1845 with the family to Le Havre (30, Rue d’Epréméril, now disappeared; R22I,p10). 1857/01/28 his mother died. His aunt, Marie-Jeanne Lecadre (who lived in nearby Saint-Adresse and who was an amateur painter) became important for his education. (R22I,p16) Around 1866 Claude Monet starts a relationship with Camille Doncieux. In August 1867 their son Jean is born at 8, Impasse Saint-Louis, Batignolles, Paris (iR3), where he also lived spring 1868 (iR1); and also 1870/04 (R259); the contemporary address is unknown (iR9). Another source mentions that he stayed the greatest part of 1867 with Bazille and Renoir at 20, Rue Visconti in Paris (R31,p296). From 1868/69 till 1870 he lived in Saint-Michel, a hamlet near Bougival; the exact address is unknown (iR219). April 1870 his address was also 13, Rue Fontenelle, Le Havre (R259). 1870/06/28 Claude and Camille married in Trouville (R5,p64). 1871/01/17 his father died, while Monet was in exile in London (R22I,p88). After a stay in Zaandam, Monet returned in Paris in the Autumn of 1871 and at the end of that year he moved to Argenteuil (R22I,p91+93).

1878/03/17 their son Michel is born. August 1878 Claude Monet moved to Vétheuil (R22,p137), the bankrupt art-collector Ernest Hoschedé, his wife Alice and their 6 children move in. 1879/09/05 his wife Camille died (R22,p146). Alice Hoschedé and Monet develop a relationship. Ernest most of the time was in Paris. At the end of 1881 the extended family moved to Poissy and in April 1883 to Giverny. 1891/03/19 Ernest Hosschedé died and 1892/06/07 Alice and Claude married (R22,p279+287). In 1908 Monet started to have problems with his sight (R24,p67). 1911/05/19 Alice died (R22,p392). 1926/12/05 Monet died in Giverny (R22,p457).


My main source is the Catalogue Raisonné of Wildenstein, including his biography ‘Monet, or the triumph of Impressionism’ (1999 = R22, see also aR5+6). Other main sources specially on Monet are Krämer (2015=R21), Russell (2001=R23), Zeitler (1999=R24), Copplestone (1988=R98), Murray (2017=R160). Other main sources are Rewald (1973=R1), Moffett (1986=R2), Berson (1996=R90), Monneret (1978=R88), Dayez (1974=R87), Duret (1878/1923=R7+142), Walther (2013=R3), Roe (2006=R4), Denvir (1993=R5;1992=R8), Wikipedia (iR3), and the Salon database (iR1). For other general references (=R) see. My main sources (for the pictures) from the internet are the-Athenaeum (iR2=aR1), art-monet (iR51=aR2), Wikimedia (iR6), Mutual-art (iR11) and Google Images (iR10). For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.

For further reading:
Ganz, James A.  + Richard Kendall: The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings. Exhibiton catalogue. Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2007 (=R317).

Additional references (=aR):

  1. / Monet (=iR2; >1300 works; my main source of the pictures; currently out of order)
  2. (=iR51; many pictures about Money; with advertisements)
  3. (info on Monet and his estate in Giverny)
  4. (info, paintings, chronology, etc.)
  5. (page of the Wildenstein Plattner Insitute with links to the Catalogue Raisonné on Monet by Daniel Wildenstein of 1996=R22;=iR182),Vol.II (online publication of the second volume of the Catalogue Raisonné on Monet by Daniel Wildenstein of 1996=R22II),Vol.III (online publication of the third volume of the Catalogue Raisonné on Monet by Daniel Wildenstein of 1996=R22III),Vol.IV (online publication of the fourth volume of the Catalogue Raisonné on Monet by Daniel Wildenstein of 1996=R22IV),indexes (online publication of the indexes and the end of the fourth volume of the Catalogue Raisonné on Monet by Daniel Wildenstein of 1996=R22IV,p981-1060)
  6. (online publication of ‘Monet or the Triump of Impressionism’ a biography by Daniel Wildenstein;=R22I)
  7.,drawings (online publication of Volume 5 of the older Catalogue Raisonné on Monet by Daniel Wildenstein of 1991, p57-131 drawings, D1-D447=R127V)
  8.,caricatures (online publication of Volume 5 of the older Catalogue Raisonné on Monet by Daniel Wildenstein of 1991, p132-151, D451-D515;=R127V)
  9.,pastels (online publication of Volume 5 of the older Catalogue Raisonné on Monet by Daniel Wildenstein of 1991, p517-175, P1-P108 =R127V)
  10.,correspondance (online publication of Volume 5 of the older Catalogue Raisonné on Monet by Daniel Wildenstein of 1991, his letters,p183-218;=R127V)
  11.,collection (online publication of Volume 5 of the older Catalogue Raisonné on Monet by Daniel Wildenstein of 1991, his own collection of art-works,p218+219ff;=R127V)
  12. “Claude Monet.” In Database of Modern Exhibitions (DoME). European Paintings and Drawings 1905-1915. Last modified Dec 17, 2020.  =iR261; overview of contributions of Monet in exhibitions and auctions from 1905-1915
  13. (Exposition: the unknown Monet; pastels and drawings, 2008.; =M26)
  14. (blogspot with info and pictures on the caricatures Oscar-Claude Monet made from about 1856-59)
  15. (many pictures of Monet in high quality and information; =iR94)


Recommanded citation: “Impressionism: Sketches of Claude Monet (1840-1926). Last modified 2024/03/15.”