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Paris and Algeria

When Monet traveled to Paris to visit the Louvre, he witnessed painters copying from the old
masters. Having brought his paints and other tools with him, he would instead go and sit by a
window and paint what he saw.[12] Monet was in Paris for several years and met other young
painters, including douard Manet and others who would become friends and fellow
After drawing a low ballot number in March 1861, Monet was drafted into the First Regiment of
African Light Cavalry (Chasseurs d'Afrique) in Algeria for a seven-year period of military service.
His prosperous father could have purchased Monet's exemption from conscription but declined to
do so when his son refused to give up painting. While in Algeria Monet did only a few sketches
of casbah scenes, a single landscape, and several portraits of officers, all of which have been
lost. In a Le Temps interview of 1900 however he commented that the light and vivid colours of
North Africa "contained the germ of my future researches"[13] After about a year of garrison duty in
Algiers, Monet contracted typhoid fever and briefly went absent without leave. Following
convalescence, Monet's aunt intervened to get him out of the army if he agreed to complete a
course at an art school. It is possible that the Dutch painter Johan Barthold Jongkind, whom
Monet knew, may have prompted his aunt on this matter.
Disillusioned with the traditional art taught at art schools, in 1862 Monet became a student
of Charles Gleyre in Paris, where he met Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frdric Bazille and Alfred
Sisley. Together they shared new approaches to art, painting the effects of light en plein air with
broken colour and rapid brushstrokes, in what later came to be known as Impressionism.

Le djeuner sur l'herbe (right section), 18651866, with Gustave Courbet, Frdric Bazille and Camille
Doncieux, first wife of the artist, Muse d'Orsay, Paris[14]

In January 1865 Monet was working on a version of Le djeuner sur l'herbe, aiming to present it
for hanging at the Salon, which had rejected Manet's Le djeuner sur l'herbe two years earlier.
Monet's painting was very large and could not be completed in time. (It was later cut up, with
parts now in different galleries.) Monet submitted instead a painting of Camille or The Woman in
the Green Dress (La femme la robe verte), one of many works using his future wife, Camille
Doncieux, as his model. Both this painting and a small landscape were hung. [15] The following
year Monet used Camille for his model in Women in the Garden, and On the Bank of the Seine,
Bennecourt in 1868. Camille became pregnant and gave birth to their first child, Jean, in 1867.
Monet and Camille married on 28 June 1870, just before the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian
War,[17] and, after their excursion to London and Zaandam, they moved to Argenteuil, in
December 1871. During this time Monet painted various works of modern life. He and Camille
lived in poverty for most of this period. Following the successful exhibition of some maritime
paintings, and the winning of a silver medal at Le Havre, Monet's paintings were seized by
creditors, from whom they were bought back by a shipping merchant, Gaudibert, who was also a
patron of Boudin.[15]