Autumn effect at argenteuil
Claude Monet (1840-1926) is perhaps the most famous of all the Impressionist painters. Indeed it was his painting, Impression Sunrise (1872, Musée Marmottan, Paris) that gained Monet and his contemporaries, including Renoir, Degas, Sisley and Pissarro, the initially disparaging title of ‘Impressionists’ when they exhibited together for the first time in 1874, independently of the official Paris Salon. Monet had grown up between Paris and Normandy, and it was on the beaches of Normandy, under the instruction of Eugène Boudin, that he learnt to use oil paints and to work en plein air (in the open air). Monet moved to England during the Franco-Prussian war (1870-71), where he saw firsthand works by John Constable and JMW Turner. He was influenced by their respective interests in local, familiar subject matter, and in the effects of light and natural phenomena. When he returned to France in late 1871, he moved with his wife and young son to Argenteuil, a small town eleven kilometres west of Paris along the river Seine.