Friday Filosophy v.01.13.2023
For Friday Filosophy v.01.13.2023, our Founder, Ron Slee shares quotes and words of wisdom from the French painter Oscar-Claude Monet.
Oscar-Claude Monet (14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926) was a French painter and founder of impressionist painting who is seen as a key precursor to modernism, especially in his attempts to paint nature as he perceived it. During his long career, he was the most consistent and prolific practitioner of impressionism’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein air (outdoor) landscape painting. The term “Impressionism” is derived from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant, exhibited in 1874 (the “exhibition of rejects”) initiated by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the Salon.
Monet was raised in Le Havre, Normandy, and became interested in the outdoors and drawing from an early age. Although his mother, Louise-Justine Aubrée Monet, supported his ambitions to be a painter, his father, Claude-Adolphe, disapproved and wanted him to pursue a career in business. He was very close to his mother, but she died in January 1857 when he was sixteen years old, and he was sent to live with his childless, widowed but wealthy aunt, Marie-Jeanne Lecadre. He went on to study at the Académie Suisse, and under the academic history painter Charles Gleyre, where he was a classmate of Auguste Renoir. His early works include landscapes, seascapes, and portraits, but attracted little attention. A key early influence was Eugène Boudin who introduced him to the concept of plein air painting. From 1883, Monet lived in Giverny, also in northern France, where he purchased a house and property and began a vast landscaping project, including a water-lily pond.
Monet’s ambition to document the French countryside led to a method of painting the same scene many times so as to capture the changing of light and the passing of the seasons. Among the best-known examples are his series of haystacks (1890–91), paintings of the Rouen Cathedral (1894), and the paintings of water lilies in his garden in Giverny that occupied him continuously for the last 20 years of his life.
Frequently exhibited and successful during his lifetime, Monet’s fame and popularity soared in the second half of the 20th century when he became one of the world’s most famous painters and a source of inspiration for burgeoning groups of artists.
- Eventually, my eyes were opened, and I really understood nature. I learned to love at the same time.
- People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it’s simply necessary to love.
- I am following Nature without being able to grasp her, I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.
- Try to forget what objects you have before you – a tree, a house, a field, or whatever. Merely think, ‘Here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow,’ and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact color and shape, until it gives you your own impression of the scene before you.
- Finally here is a beautiful day, a superb sun like at Giverny. So I worked without stopping, for the tide at this moment is just as I need it for several motifs. This has bucked me up a bit.
- No one is an artist unless he carries his picture in his head before painting it, and is sure of his method and composition.
- I do have a dream, a painting, the baths of La Grenouillere for which I’ve done a few bad rough sketches, but it is a dream. Renoir, who has just spent two months here, also wants to do this painting.
- I wear myself out and struggle with the sun. And what a sun here! It would be necessary to paint here with gold and gemstones. It is wonderful
- I was definitely born under an evil star. I have just been thrown out of the inn where I was staying, naked as a worm.
- I have always worked better alone and from my own impressions.
- There, the grand lines of mountain and sea are admirable, and apart from the exotic vegetation that is here, Monte Carlo is certainly the most beautiful spot of the entire coast: the motifs there are more complete, more picturelike, and consequently easier to execute.
- For a long time, I have hoped for better days, but alas, today it is necessary for me to lose all hope. My poor wife suffers more and more. I do not think it is possible to be any weaker.
- I am installed in a fairylike place. I do not know where to poke my head; everything is superb, and I would like to do everything, so I use up and squander lots of color, for there are trials to be made.
- I have never had a studio, and I do not understand shutting oneself up in a room. To draw, yes; to paint, no.
- It is extraordinary to see the sea; what a spectacle! She is so unfettered that one wonders whether it is possible that she again become calm.
- My life has been nothing but a failure.
The Time is Now.