The Private Life of Claude Monet


Monet Self Portrait 1886
Monet Camille Monet On Her Deathbed 1879

Claude Monet’s life is characterised by a driving ambition and determination to let nothing interrupt his work. His early life was difficult as his parents objected strongly to his choice of career and his marriage to Camille which for many years he kept secret.

He was constantly short of money which was difficult for a man who enjoyed the finer things of life – good food, fine wine and elegant clothes.

In the 1870s he met the Hoschede family, apparently extremely wealthy but in fact verging on a bankruptcy which was to throw the Hoschede family into the care of Monet and his family.

Following the tragic early death of Camille, Monet married Alice Hoschede and the two families lived together happily in Giverny where Monet developed his magnificent garden with an amazing relentless determination.

Monet The Artist’s Garden at Giverny 1895

Monet was an international expert on various aspects of horticulture and acted as a judge in many high level competitions. Despite these personal challenges, Monet continued to produce wonderful Impressionist landscapes developing all the time as an artist and taking on the enormous challenges of the later series paintings and the Water Lilies.

Following the death of Alice in 1911 and his son Jean in 1914, Monet was faced with the tragedy of the First World War. He was on the verge of abandoning painting altogether, but his friend Georges Clemenceau encouraged him to continue and he began working on the concept of the waterlily series as a memorial to the fallen during the Great War.

Monet Morning on the seine near Giverny 1896

Monet’s paintings are well known, but this lecture sets out to reveal the complex personal life of the man behind these iconic images.