Born in Paris but raised in Le Havre, the second son of a shopkeeper, Claude Monet is regarded as one of the most important artists of the Impressionist Movement bringing the transient effect of natural light to its most refined expression.
By 1859 Monet had committed himself to a career as an artist and began to spend as much time in Paris as possible. During the 1860s he was associated with the pre-impressionist painter Edouard Manet, and with other aspiring French painters destined to form the impressionist school-Camille Pissarro, Pierre Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley.
In 1874 Monet and his colleagues decided to appeal directly to the public by organizing their own exhibition. Their work seemed sketchy and unfinished (like a first impression) but during the 1870s and 1880s Monet gradually refined this technique By the mid-1880s Monet, generally regarded as the leader of the impressionist school, had achieved significant recognition and financial security. He was recognized as an artist who sacrificed neither the true complexities of nature nor the intensity of his own feelings. Despite his failing eyesight, Monet continued to paint almost up to the time of his death, on December 5, 1926, at Giverny.