Oscar-Claude Monet was a founder of French Impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. The term "Impressionism" is derived from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant, which was exhibited in 1874 in the first of the independent exhibitions mounted by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the Salon de Paris.
Monet's ambition of documenting the French countryside led him to adopt a method of painting the same scene many times in order to capture the changing of light and the passing of the seasons. From 1883 Monet lived in Giverny, where he purchased a house and property, and began a vast landscaping project which included lily ponds that would become the subjects of his best-known works. In 1899 he began painting the water lilies, first in vertical views with a Japanese bridge as a central feature, and later in the series of large-scale paintings that was to occupy him continuously for the next 20 years of his life.
Born Jean-Baptiste Armand Guillaumin in Paris, he worked at his uncle's lingerie shop while attending evening drawing lessons. He also worked for a French government railway before studying at the Académie Suisse in 1861. There, he met Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro with whom he maintained lifelong friendships. While he never achieved the stature of these two, his influence on their work was significant. Cézanne attempted his first etching based on Guillaumin paintings of barges on the River Seine.
Guillaumin exhibited at the Salon des Refusés in 1863. He participated in six of the eight Impressionist exhibitions: 1874, 1877, 1880, 1881, 1882 and 1886.
In 1886, he became a friend of Vincent van Gogh whose brother, Theo sold some of his works. He was finally able to quit his government job and concentrate on painting full-time in 1891, when he won 100,000 francs in the state lottery.
Armand Guillaumin - View of the Seine, Paris
Noted for their intense colours, Guillamin's paintings are represented in major museums around the world. He is best remembered for his landscapes of Paris, the Creuse département, and the area around Les Adrets-de-l'Estérel near the Mediterranean coast in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France. Guillamin was called the leader of the École de Crozant, a diverse group of painters who came to depict the landscape in the region of the Creuse around the village of Crozant. One of these depictions, titled Landscape in Crozant, is housed in the Chicago Institute of Arts. His bust is in the square near the village church.
Armand Guillaumin died in 1927 in Orly, Val-de-Marne just south of Paris.