Claude Monet and his family seen by his collegues

L’Ambulance improvisée (The Improvised Field Hospital)
Frédéric Bazille
Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

Frédéric Bazille, Monet's freind, played a large part in the Déjeuner sur l’herbe project being for the ambitious canvas the primary model. After Monet left for Chailly in the summer to paint his Déjeuner, he wrote to Bazille often, pleading with his friend to come pose for him. After months, Bazille finally submitted to the “cause Monet” and in August went to Chailly.

Shortly after Bazille arrived in Chailly, Monet injured his leg, producing the opportunity for the two to switch places. Bazille, using his medical knowledge, rigged a water-dripping device over Monet’s leg, and while Monet lay in bed Bazille painted L’Ambulance improvisée (The Improvised Field Hospital) (1865), perhaps the only finished painting to emerge out of the time spent in Chailly. Monet looks positively sullen; he clearly prefers painting to modeling. Bazille has included his shadow in the painting; a subtle reference to the reversal of painter and model. Before injuring his leg, Monet had just completed his study The Strollers, which looks more instantaneous but is the result of lots of planning and deliberation, whereas L’Ambulance improvisée, the result of a spontaneous event, appears more planned.

Portrait of Claude Monet
Carolus Durand
46 x 38 cm.
Musee Marmottan, Paris

Claude Monet Reading
Auguste Renoir
50 x 61 cm.
Musée Marmottan, Paris, France

Portrait of Claude Monet
Auguste Renoir
60.3 x 48.3 cm.
National Gallery of Art
Washington, D. C.

The Monet Family in Their
Garden at Argenteuil

Eduoard Manet
61 x 99.7 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art

In the summer of 1874, Manet stayed at his family's house in Gennevilliers, just across the Seine from Monet in Argenteuil. The Monet family was living in a house that Manet had helped them find the year before. The two painters saw each other often that summer and Manet attempted twice to paint Monet and his wife Camille as Monet worked aboard his floating studio. While Manet painted the Monet family, Renoir painted beside him and Monet worked nearby. Monet painted Manet at his easel (present location unknown), while Renoir, like Manet, painted Madame Monet, Jean Monet, and the rooster (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.). Monet later recalled that as Renoir painted, Manet glanced at his canvas from time to time, and at one point the older artist walked over to Monet and whispered: "He has no talent, that boy! Since you're his friend, tell him to give up painting!"

Claude Monet in his Studio Boat
Eduoard Manet
81 x 104 cm.

Madame Monet Lying on a Sofa
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, Portugal

Claude Monet Painting in
his Garden at Argenteuil

Auguste Renoir
51 x 47 cm
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, USA

Portrait of Monet
Pierre Auguste Renoir
61 cm x 85 cm

Portrait of Monet
Pierre Auguste Renoir
brush and india ink on paper 17x13cm
Musee Marmottan    

Portrait of Madame Alice Hoschedé
(afterwards, Madame Monet)
55.9 x 38.1 cm.
Benno and Nancy Schmidt Collection Wildenstein Galleries, New York

Monet Painting
John Singer Sargent
Tate Gallery, London
54 x 64.8 cm

Portrait of Claude Monet
John Singer Sargent
16 x 13 in.
National Academy of Design, NYC

Monet  and his Self-Made Image

Claude Monet: Life and Work. - book reviews

Art in America, Nov, 1993 by Charles F. Stuckey

In the recent literature, Claude Monet has emerged as a different historical figure from the courageous, penniless and misunderstood revolutionary portrayed in John Rewald's History of Impressionism (1946). In fact, Virginia Spate has characterized Monet as a self-centered artist, a spendthrift with dandy tendencies, a not especially sympathetic or generous person, even to friends of family, and as a perennial manipulator. Although he indeed experienced bad years, especially in the late 1860s and late '70s, it turns out that he was actually rather well-to-do for most of his life.

All in all, it would seem that Monet had a higher standard of living than the average Parisian doctor, and beginning in the 1890s he became downright wealthy. If he had been sometimes short of cash, it was because he liked to live in big houses, eat good food and drink good wine. Later on he was far more affluent, partly because of the high prices his work commanded, partly because - not what you might expect of a misty, nature-loving Impressionist, this - he played the stock exchange.

If Monet talked a lot about money, it was, in the words of the biographer Virginia Spate, because he was "obsessed by it, chronically mean but a huge spender, and even when he was very rich, irrationally fearful of losing everything".

However, income aside, it would be misleading to forget how non-conformist Monet was for his times: he fathered his first child out of wedlock, avoided wartime military responsibilities, setup a household (after the death of his first wife) with a married woman and disavowed religion to say nothing of his revolutionary approach to painting which left the 20th century a lasting legacy.

THE RISE OF MONET'S CELEBRITY from his debut at the Salon in 1865 through his participation in the Impressionist exhibitions and a series of one-man shows from 1880 onward was chronicled and promoted in the popular press. His career coincided with the birth of the mass media and a dramatic upsurge in illustrated art journalism. Before photography could capture the nuances of his canvases, Monet played an active role in publishing his work by producing black-and-white drawings after his paintings that were suitable for reproduction in letterpress. It was through the circulation of these specialized drawings that the artist's paintings were introduced to an even broader public. At the same time, while shunning hands-on practice as a printmaker, he took part in the fin-de-siècle vogue for lithography by entering into a venture to market the first limited-edition lithographic portfolio based on his paintings.