History's Greatest Artists: The Life and Legacy of Claude Monet

Narrated by: Scott Clem
Length: 1 hr and 6 mins
4 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

To get a sense of the kind of prestige that Claude Monet's reputation has within the art world, one need only learn that his Le Bassin Aux Nympheás (1919) - from his series of paintings featuring water lilies - sold for the equivalent of more than $70 million. This is an incredibly staggering price, especially considering that early in his life, Monet had been so poor and debt-ridden that some of his paintings were taken from him by creditors. How, exactly, did Monet progress from being an impoverished young Impressionist artist working at the vanguard of European art to the legendary Master whose works command prices near the very pinnacle of the art world?

Naturally, Monet's commercial success soared exponentially in the decades following his death in 1926, at a time in which the prices commanded by the great Masters of Western art began rising in price at exponential rates. Yet even during his own lifetime, Monet enjoyed a sharp rise to fame and was canonized as one of the greatest painters in France. Following sharply in the footsteps of Edouard Manet, Claude Monet was one of the first painters identified within the Impressionist circle (indeed, it was Monet himself who coined the label of Impressionist after using it in the title of one of his paintings). Where some artists reach the peak of their acclaim early in life, Monet's star continued to rise even throughout his old age; although some would argue that the last decade or so of his life were anticlimactic, at least from an artistic standpoint, his landmark water lilies were made during his elderly years.

©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors

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Pronunciation Problems

The book is well-written but the narrator does not know his French. Edgar Degas does not rhyme with Las Vegas. Gauguin and the river Seine did not sound like what I learned in French class. Also the English words erudite and anathema did not sound correct.

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Needed info on Monet stat!

I was headed to the Monet exhibit rather spontaneously and wanted to know a little more about the artist. This little book was just right! It was a little over an hour long and provided just enough information to really help me more fully appreciate the paintings.

The narrator’s reading was quite wooden and he mispronounced nearly every French name in the book. Some English words, too. It was painful to hear him mangle Giverny and Gaugin repeatedly. He did pronounce Monet fine, thank heavens!