"For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life - the light and the air which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value."
Claude Monet was among the leaders of the French Impressionist movement of the 1870s and 1880s. His 1873 painting Impression, Sunrise gave the style its name, and as an inspirational talent and a personality, he was crucial in bringing its adherents together. Inspired in the 1860s by the Realists' interest in painting in the open air, Monet would later bring the technique to one of its most famous pinnacles with his so-called series paintings, in which his observations of the same subject, viewed at various times of the day, were captured in numerous sequences of paintings. Masterful as a colorist and as a painter of light and atmosphere, his later work often achieved a remarkable degree of abstraction, and this has recommended him to subsequent generations of abstract painters. An inspiration and a leader among the Impressionists, he was crucial in attracting Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Edouard Manet and Camille Pissarro to work alongside each other in the Parisian suburb of Argenteuil in the 1870s. He was also important in establishing the exhibition society that would showcase the group's work between 1874 and 1886.