Claude Monet quotes
Birthdate: 14. November 1840
Date of death: 5. December 1926
Oscar-Claude Monet was a French painter, a founder of French Impressionist painting and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein air landscape painting. The term "Impressionism" is derived from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant , which was exhibited in 1874 in the first of the independent exhibitions mounted by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the Salon de Paris.Monet's ambition of documenting the French countryside led him to adopt a method of painting the same scene many times in order to capture the changing of light and the passing of the seasons. From 1883, Monet lived in Giverny, where he purchased a house and property and began a vast landscaping project which included lily ponds that would become the subjects of his best-known works. He began painting the water lilies in 1899, first in vertical views with a Japanese bridge as a central feature and later in the series of large-scale paintings that was to occupy him continuously for the next 20 years of his life.
Quotes Claude Monet
„I am absolutely sickened with and demoralized by this life, I've been leading for so long. When you get to my age, there is nothing more to look forward to.“
Quote in a letter to , September 1879; as cited in The Private Lives of the Impressionists Sue Roe; Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2006, pp. 202-203; also partly cited in: Jane Kinsman, Michael Pantazzi, National Gallery of Australia. Degas: the uncontested master, National Gallery of Australia, 7 apr. 2009. p. 25
1870 - 1890
Context: I am absolutely sickened with and demoralized by this life, I've been leading for so long. When you get to my age, there is nothing more to look forward to. Unhappy we are, unhappy we'll stay. Each day brings its tribulations and each day difficulties arise... So I'm giving up the struggle once and for all, abandoning all hope of success... I hear my friends are preparing another exhibition this year [the Impressionists, in Paris, 1880] but I'm ruling out the possibility of participating in it, as I just don't have anything worth showing.
Quote in Monet's letter to art-ritic and friend Gustave Geffroy, 1907; as cited in: K.E. Sullivan. Monet: Discovering Art, Brockhampton press, London (2004), p. 56
1900 - 1920
„I'm very happy, very delighted.... for I am surrounded here by all that I love. I spent my time out of doors.... and naturally I'm working all the time, and I think this year I'm going to do some serious things. And then in the evening, dear fellow, I come home to my little cottage to find a good fire and a dear little family... Dear friend, it's a delight to watch this person [his first son Jean, born in 1867] grow, and I am glad to have him to be sure…“
in a letter to Frédéric Bazille: as cited by K.E. Sullivan. Monet: Discovering Art, Brockhampton press, London (2004), p. 22
1850 - 1870
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„It is decidedly frightfully difficult to make something complete in all respects, and I think that there are scarcely any but those who content themselves with the approximate.“
1850 - 1870
Context: My dear Frédéric Bazille, I ask myself what you can be doing in Paris during fine weather, for I suppose that it must also be very fine there. Here my dear fellow, it is is charming, and I discover every day always beautiful things. It is enough to become mad [fou], so much do I have the desire to do it all, my head is cracking. Damn it, here it is the sixteenth, put aside your cliques and your claques, and come spend a couple of weeks here, it would be the best thing that you could do, because in Paris it cannot be very easy to work.
This very day, I still have a month to stay in; furthermore my sketches are becoming finished, I have even set to work additionally [remis] on some others. In sum, I am content enough with my stay here, even though my studies are very far from what I would wish. It is decidedly frightfully difficult to make something complete in all respects, and I think that there are scarcely any but those who content themselves with the approximate. Very well, my dear fellow, I want to struggle, scrape, start over again [recommencer], because one can do what one sees and understands, and it seems to me, when I see nature, that I am going to do it all, write it all out, but them go try to do it.... when one is on the job..
All this proves that one must only think about this. It is by force of observation and reflection that one finds. So let us grind away and grind away constantly. Are you making any progress? Yes, I am sure of it, but what I am sure of is that you do not work enough and not in the right way. It is not with carefree guys like your Villa and others that you will be able to work. It would be better all alone, and yet, all alone there are plenty of things that one cannot make out. In the end all of this is terrible, and it is a rough task.
... It is frightening what I see in my head.
Monet answering the question, how he had became an impressionist.
Source: Claude Monet, Charles F. Stuckey (1985) Monet: a retrospective. p. 91
„I have gone back to some things that can't possibly be done: water, with weeds waving at the bottom. It is a wonderful sight, but it drives one to crazy to try to paint it. But that is the kind of thing I am always a tackling.“
Quote in Monet's letter to art-critic and his friend Gustave Geffroy, 22 June 1890; as cited in Letters of the great artists – from Blake to Pollock, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p. 129
1890 - 1900
„It seems to me, when I see nature, that I see it ready made, completely written — but then, try to do it!“
2 quotes in Monet's letter to , July 15, 1864; as cited in Mary M. Gedo (2013) Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Art. p. 114-15 / p. 60
1850 - 1870
Context: It seems to me, when I see nature, that I see it ready made, completely written — but then, try to do it! All this proves that one must think of nothing but them [impressions]; it is by dint of observation and reflection that one makes discoveries.
„Every day I discover
more and more
It’s enough to drive one mad.
I have such a desire
to do everything,
my head is bursting with it.“
Variant: Everyday I discover more and more beautiful things. It’s enough to drive one mad. I have such a desire to do everything, my head is bursting with it.