Claude Monet was born in Paris in 1840, and spent his childhood in Le Havre, Normandy. One of the most influential painters of the Modern age, Monet was an initiator and key figure of the Impressionist movement. He was introduced to plein air painting by Eugéne Boudin, and studied informally with Dutch landscape artist Johan Jongkind.
At the age of 22 Monet joined the Paris atelier of the academician Charles Gleyre, where he met Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and other future Impressionists. Guided by a quest to capture the effects of nature, and inspired by sources such as the decorative flatness of Japanese woodcuts, Monet rejected of conventional approaches to colour, composition and perspective. The scale and ambition of his works influenced artists heavily throughout the 20th century.
Throughout his prolific career Monet addresses a broad range of subject matter. From scenes of contemporary Paris to his beloved garden at Giverny, he sought his inspiration in the people and places immediately surrounding him. His landscapes chart journeys to England and Venice, as well his movement within France.
In the 1890s haystacks, poplars and Rouen Cathedral were the central subjects of his work, exploring light, shade and colour, by painting the same scene at different times of the day. During 1899-1904 Monet made several visits to London, and focused his work around the dusky and misty scenes of the Embankment and The Thames. In 1910s and 1920s he focused almost exclusively on the garden and water lily ponds that he created at his home in Giverny. Monet's work graces a number of the world's most important museums and private collections.