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Both artists’ Bougival studies interpret the light and movement of outdoor life in strong, abbreviating strokes, improvised at the moment of perception, that serve as equivalents for visual experiences never before committed to canvas in such a direct manner.In 1870 at Trouville, in broad, assured gestures, Monet painted a study of Camille on the beach.Instead, he frequented the haunts of advanced artists and worked at the Académie Suisse, where he met Camille Pissarro.
Monet did share with Manet, however, a concern for representing actual scenes of modern life rather than contrived historical, romantic, or fanciful subjects.When Claude, the eldest son of Adolphe Monet, a grocer, was five years old, the family moved to the Normandy coast, near Le Havre, where his father took over the management of his family’s thriving ship-chandlering and grocery business.This event has more than biographical significance, for it was Monet’s childhood, spent along the beaches, and the intimate knowledge he gained of the sea and the rapidly shifting Norman weather, that would one day give rise to his fresh vision of nature. In his mature works, Monet developed his method of producing repeated studies of the same motif in series, changing canvases with the light or as his interest shifted.These series were frequently exhibited in groups—for example, his images of haystacks (1890/91) and the Rouen cathedral (1894).His aunt, Marie-Jeanne Lecadre, was an amateur painter, and, perhaps at her suggestion, Claude went to study drawing with a local artist.But his life as a painter did not begin until he was befriended by painting in the open air. Turner made small oil sketches out-of-doors before 1810, but it is unlikely that Monet knew these studies.The exceptional achievements of Monet’s prolific youthful period can be measured in works completed between 18, before he had begun to fragment his brushstrokes into the characteristic broken touches that were to become the hallmark of Impressionist style.One of the most ambitious of these early works (which was never finished, supposedly because of negative comments by Gustave Courbet) was Édouard Manet’s notorious painting shown in the Salon des Refusés in 1863.Monet’s life during the 1860s was precarious and itinerant, and he sold almost nothing; but several works were accepted for exhibition in the yearly Salons, most notably, and with great success, a fine but not yet Impressionist portrait of his future wife, Camille.Having already painted in Paris, Le Havre, Chailly, Honfleur, Trouville, and Fécamp and at other stations between Paris and the sea, Monet ended the 1860s at the Seine River resort known as La Grenouillère, at Bougival, where he and Renoir worked together for the first time.