Bathers in La Grenouillère is a painting by Claude Monet dated 1869 and kept in the National Gallery in London. La Grenouillère (called playfully...
In Monet's paintings we observe what the famous Impressionist painter said: "Every colour we see is born of the influence of his neighbour". Claude Monet was born in Paris in 1840 and since he was a boy he drew in pencil and charcoal. He lived with his parents in Le Havre and his first teacher, the painter Eugène Boudin, taught him the value of painting en plein air and love for nature. In 1859 he left to continue his studies in Paris, where he met Delacroix, Courbet and Pissarro, many realistic painters, Baudelaire, Manet and Constant Troyon, Couture and Daubigny who loved to paint live landscapes. In 1860 he went to North Africa for military service: the light and colours of Africa struck him deeply. In 1862 he returned to Le Havre in convalescence and resumed painting with master Boudin and the Dutch painter Jongkind. He returned to Paris to continue his studies and met Renoir, Sisley and Bazille. In 1864 he lived for a few months in Honfleur where he portrayed landscapes and marinas.
Back in Paris, he managed to exhibit some paintings and impressed the critics. He started working on the Breakfast on the grass. In 1867 Monet and his companion Camille had a son, Jean, and in 1868 they moved together and Fécamp, then Etretat and then Bougival, on the Seine, together with Renoir. The light on the water and its reflections remained the centre of attention in Monet's paintings of that period. In 1870 he married his companion and moved to Trouville in Normandy. To avoid having to participate in the Franco-Prussian war that had just broken out, he went to London, meeting his colleagues Daubigny and Pissarro and painting with them, visiting museums and getting to know the work of Constable and Turner. I will count among his knowledge the one with the influential art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel and returned to his homeland once the war was over, crossing the fascinating landscapes of the Netherlands, coming into contact with several Japanese prints of Hokusai, Hiroshige and Harunobu. In 1871 he settled in Argenteuil, on the Seine not far from Paris. In 1874 he exhibited the painting that would give its name to Impressionism: "Impression. Sunrise". He returned to Paris in 1878 where his second son, Michel, was born and Camille died at the age of 32 in 1879.
Meanwhile, Monet had established a relationship with the wife of Hoschedé financier and art collector, Alice. He painted the Norman coast a lot and sold his paintings to Paul Durand-Ruel. With Alice and family he moved to Giverny in Normandy in 1883. The home garden, full of water lilies, will be the backdrop of numerous paintings, along with the water lilies themselves. In the following years he traveled a lot and became rich and famous, bought the house in Giverny and married Alice. His works were exhibited in several countries and his travels continued for many years. In 1911 Alice died and in 1914 her son Jean died. He died in 1926.