Monet's father was a wholesale grocer who provided supplies for the fishing industry. His mother died in 1857. It was his aunt Marie-Jeanne Lecadre who supported his decision to become an artist. Monet married Camille Doncieux on 28 June 1870. Their first son Jean was born in 1867 and their second Michel in March 1878. Camille died in September 1879. From 1883 until his death, Monet lived with his mistress Alice Hoschedé and her children.
Monet grew up in the Normandy coastal town of Le Havre. His first artistic efforts ca 1856 in caricature attracted the attention of the painter Eugène Boudin, who persuaded him to turn his attention to landscape painting en plein air. In 1862 he entered the studio of Charles Gleyre in Paris where he met Fréderic Bazille, Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley. He became a central figure in the formation of the Société Anonyme des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs.
Wanting to avoid conscription, Monet spent the period of the Franco-Prussian War in England where he met up with the painter Camille Pissarro and the dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, and where he painted a number of views of the Thames, perhaps influenced by Whistler.
Monet became friendly with Whistler who invited him to exhibit at the Royal Society of British Artists in 1887, which did not ingratiate him to the RBA. In December 1887 Monet introduced Whistler to Stéphane Mallarmé, who agreed to translate the Ten O'Clock Lecture into French. Monet's series in the 1890s of grain stacks and Rouen Cathedral were perhaps influenced by the etchings Whistler made in Venice in 1879-80 that sought to record changing light effects at different times of the day.
In 1891 the Musée du Luxembourg purchased Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother y101, the first American work to enter the Louvre, due to the efforts of Monet, Mallarmé and Théodore Duret.
Whistler became president of the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers in 1898 and was probably in part responsible for the inclusion of works by Monet in the summer exhibition.
House, J., Monet: Nature into Art, New Haven and London, 1986; Seiberling, G. (ed.), Monet in London, Museum of Fine Art, Boston, 1988; Spate, V., The Colour of Time: Claude Monet, London, 1992; Wildenstein, D., Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné, 5 vols, Lausanne, 1974-91; Isaacson, Joel, 'Claude Monet', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy.; MacDonald, Margaret F. (ed.), Whistler's Mother: An American Icon, Aldershot, 2003. Lochnan, Katharine A., Turner, Whistler, Monet: Impressionist Visions, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Tate Britain, London, 2004.