On April 1 1851, Monet entered the Le Havre Secondary School of the Arts. He became known locally for his charcoal caricatures, which he would sell for ten to twenty francs. Monet took his first drawing lessons from Jacques-François Ochard, a former student of Jacques-Louis David. On the beaches of Normandy in about 1856/1857 he met artist Eugène Boudin who became his mentor and taught him to use oil paints. Boudin taught Monet "en plein air", meaning outdoor in French, techniques for painting.
In 1859, Monet decided to move to Paris to practice art. There, he enrolled as a student at the Academie Suisse where he met artist Camille Pissarro, who would become a close friend for many years. After coming back to Paris from serving in the military, Monet studied with Charles Gleyre. Through Gleyre, Monet met several other artists, such as Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Frederic Bazille; the four of them became friends. He also received advice and support from Johann Barthold Jongkind, a landscape painter who proved to be an important influence to the young artist.
Monet's Camille or The Woman in the Green Dress (La Femme à la Robe Verte), which was painted in 1866, brought him recognition, and was one of many works featuring his future wife, Camille Doncieux. Shortly after Doncieux became pregnant and gave birth to their first child, Jean. In 1868, due to financial reasons, Monet attempted suicide by trying to drown himself in the Seine River. Monet and Camille got married in June 1870, and after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, the couple fled with their son to London, England. There, Monet met Paul Durand-Ruel, who became his first art dealer.
After returning to France after the war, in 1872, Monet settled in Argenteuil, a town west of Paris, and began to develop his own technique. During his time in Argenteuil, Monet visited with many of his artist friends, including Renoir, Pissarro and Edouard Manet. Monet was going through a very difficult time around the 1880’s. His wife became ill during her second pregnancy (their second son, Michel, was born in 1878), and she continued to worsen. Monet painted a portrait of her on her death bed. Before her passing, the Monets went to live with Ernest and Alice Hoschede and their six children. (www.claudemonetgallery.org)He grew closer to Alice, and the two eventually became romantically involved. Ernest spent most of his time in Paris, and him and Alice never got divorced. Monet and Alice moved with their children in 1883 to Giverny, a place that would be inspiration for Monet and to be his final home. After Ernest's death, Monet and Alice got married in 1892. Monet gained success during the late 1880s and 1890s, and started the serial paintings which he would become well-known for. In 1900, Monet traveled to London, where the Thames River captured his artistic attention.
In 1911, Monet became depressed after the death of his wife Alice and in 1912, he developed cataracts in his right eye. He wrote to a friend that "Age and chagrin have worn me out. My life has been nothing but a failure, and all that's left for me to do is to destroy my paintings before I disappear”. Even though he felt miserable, Monet continued working on his paintings until his last days. Monet died of lung cancer on December 5, 1926 at the age of 86 and is buried in the Giverny church cemetery. Monet had insisted that the occasion be simple therefore, about fifty people attended the ceremony.
This painting of “Camille” (“The Woman in the Green Dress”), was painted in 1866 (www.wikiart.org). The piece features Claude