Claude Monet

"Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment."

"Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love."

"No one is an artist unless he carries his picture in his head before painting it, and is sure of his method and composition."

Claude Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting. The term Impressionism is derived from the title of his painting Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant). It hung in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 and is now displayed in the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris. Monet suffered from cataracts. His later paintings of the lily pond and the Japanese bridge at Giverny, when adjusted to reflect the typical symptoms of cataracts, appear dark and muddied. The artist's signature vibrant colors are muted, replaced by browns and yellows. Monet wrote of his growing frustration with his deteriorating vision, describing how he was forced to memorize where the colors were placed on his palette. In 1914 he wrote in his correspondence "colors no longer had the same intensity for me...reds had begun to look muddy...my painting was getting more and more darkened. on the one hand trusting solely to the labels on the tubes of paint and, on the other, to force of habit". As his vision continued to deteriorate, Monet's paintings became darker, less detailed and more abstract. The subject matter of the above painting from 1920 - the Japanese footbridge at Giverny, immortalized in his earlier water lily paintings - is barely recognizable. In 1923, Monet finally agreed to have the cataract in his right eye surgically removed. The procedure had been available since the turn of the century, but he had until then refused it. Although he never had his left eye operated on, he was eventually fitted with effective corrective lenses. Monet died of lung cancer on 5 December 1926 at the age of 86 and is buried in the Giverny church cemetery.