Oscar Claude Monet was one of the greatest impressionist artists who ever lived. Born in Paris in 1840, he lived to be 86 years old.
Monet knew from an early age that he wanted to be an artist, despite his father's entreaties that he go into the family grocery business.
When he was eleven years old, Monet entered the Le Havre secondary school of the arts and began making a name for himself drawing charcoal caricatures which he sold for as much as twenty fancs.
Eventually Monet traveled to Paris and witnessed great painters copying art from the works already on display at the Louvre. Instead of following suit, he simply set up his easel and painted what he saw, not what others had already captured. This approach grew into an entirely new form of art, known today as Impressionism.
Monet is widely considered to be one of the founders of French impressionist painting. In fact, the name of the impressionist movement actually came from one of Monet's own paintings, titled "Impression, soleil levant." In English, this means "Impression Sunrise" (displayed on the left). His paintings of water lilies are favorites among art lovers everywhere.
Though the name for Impressionism came from Monet's painting title, it was fellow artist Louis Leroy who actually coined the term to describe the style of Monet's work.
Most notable in Monet's work was his expertise in expressing his own perceptions of nature rather than nature as it really exists. His work is now internationally famous, especially his paintings of the many landscape and seascape views of the French countryside.