By Darla McCammon
Lately I have observed several art experts providing lists of their picks for the most famous artists in the world.
Their lists do not all agree, but some artists’ names have appeared on almost all of them. We are going to embark on a series in which we talk about the lives and art ability of those artists whose names consistently come up as the most famous.
You will make the final decision for yourself – once you have learned about each of these remarkable people. We will only take a break from this series when we have a special event or competition or exhibit to report to you.
We have studied in this column a group of artists called “the impressionists.” We will begin with a look at a famous painting of this school.
The title of this piece is called “Impression, Sunrise.” This painting (shown above) was exhibited in 1874 by Claude Monet. Monet along with 30 other artists exhibited in rebellion to being rejected by the Paris Salon.
These artists, all primarily using impressionist techniques, were criticized roundly by those who favored the traditional art being shown at the salon and elsewhere. In this, one of his most famous pieces, Monet depicted the French harbor of Le Havre in which the sun is shining through a misty morning.
His work appeared to some to be only a quick sketch or a fast “impression” of the scene before him. Critics spoke disparagingly of his impressionism and his work that looked unfinished. Yet his painting was the most popular at this notorious exhibit.
This unusual style caught on and that word impressionist became adopted by this group of artists as an honor and a representative of their almost abstract offerings. Today the impressionists are highly regarded, and Monet went on to create masterpieces, including his water lily fantasies. It would be hard to find any famous artist list today that would not include the work of Claude Monet.
Monet was born in 1840 in Paris, but his family moved to Le Havre in 1845. His mother encouraged his interest in art along with a local artist, Ėdoauard Boudin, who taught him to paint in the plein-air (outdoor, non-studio) methods. This would be his specialty throughout his life.
His mother died when he was only 15, and he decided to go to Paris and join with other artists. He married Camille Doncieux and lived the life of a starving artist, even having his paintings confiscated to pay off debts.
Camille died before his work started selling and providing a decent income. He moved to Giverny in 1883 and found inspiration for his multiple and successful Water Lilies series of paintings. He died in this peaceful home at the age of 86.
Hours of the Lakeland Art Association’s gallery are 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. It’s located at 302 E. Winona Ave., Warsaw, and the phone number is 574-267-5568.
The current Shewman exhibit closes on March 27.