French Impressionist painter Claude Monet was born on November 14, 1840. It was one of his paintings, Impression, Sunrise that gave the movement its name. A native of Le Havre, Monet developed his penchant for painting outdoors from his friend Eugène Boudin. His early Impressionist works drew enormous criticism for their unfinished appearance, but today he’s considered one of the most desirable artists by the most prestigious art museums in the world.
Monet was highly influenced by Japanese block prints and their asymmetrical compositions. His personal collection of prints is on display at his former home, Giverny. He is known for painting the same scene over and over, like haystacks, the façade of the cathedral in Rouen, or his beloved water lilies. He was interested in how light transformed the object rather than mainly with the object itself. If you’d like to see what I mean, the Webmuseum site groups his painting thematically, and the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History has thumbnails with details about his most important works. Monet’s eyesight was extremely weak at the end of his life, which shows in the muddiness of his final paintings. He died on December 5, 1926 at Giverny.
Today’s expression, ne pas pouvoir voir quelqu’un en peinture (nuh pah poovwahr vwar kelkun ohn pahntoor) literally means “to not be able to see someone in the painting.” Figuratively, it means that you can’t stand someone. For all those who couldn’t stand Monet’s early paintings, he certainly had the last laugh.