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Birth and Origins

Born Oscar Claude Monet on November 14, 1840 on the 5th floor of 45 rue Laffitte, in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, France.

On May 20, 1841, he was baptized in the local parish church, Notre-Dame-de-Lorette, as Oscar Claude, but his parents called him simply Oscar.

He was the second son -after Léon Monet (1836-1917)- of Claude Adolphe Monet and Louise Justine Aubrée Monet.

Teenager in Le Havre

At the age of 5, Monet moved with his family to Le Havre, a port town in the Normandy region. He grew up there with his older brother Leon. While he was reportedly a decent student, Monet did not like being confined to a classroom. He was more interested in being outside. At an early age, Monet developed a love of drawing. He filled his schoolbooks with sketches of people, including caricatures of his teachers. While his mother supported his artistic efforts, Monet's father wanted him to go into business. Monet suffered greatly after the death of his mother in 1857.

In the community, Monet became well known for his caricatures, and drew many of the town's residents. After meeting Eugene Boudin, a local landscape artist, Monet started to explore the natural world in his work. Boudin introduced Monet to painting outdoors, or plein air painting.

Student in Paris

In 1859, Monet decided to move to Paris to pursue his art. He enrolled as a student at the Academie Suisse. During this time, Monet met fellow artist Camille Pissarro who became a close friend for many years.

In 1861, Monet did military service with the 'Chasseurs d'Afrique' in Algeria. But he became sick and had to return to France because of Typhoid. He left the army.

In 1862, Monet became friend with Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Frédéric Bazille, that he had met at Charles Gleyre's 'Atelier libre'. In Le Havre he met the Dutch landscape painter Johan Bathold Jongkind, whom he later refers to as his true master.

In 1863 and 64, Monet preferred painting outdoors. He painted in the Forest of Fontainebleau (Luncheon on the Grass, aka The Picnic) and on the English Channel Coast. Two of his seascapes of Honfleur were accepted at the Salon in Paris the next year.

In 1866, Monet met his future wife Camille Doncieux. She posed for 'Woman in a Green Dress'. This lifesize figure was shown at the Salon. Emile Zola wrote an enthusiastic critic about this work.

to be continued ...