Perhaps the best known Impressionist is Claude Monet. His painting Impression: Soleil Levant (1872) literally gave a name to this style. Monet preferred to paint outdoors. Although he traveled extensively and found inspiration all over Western Europe, the gardens at his home in Giverny provided inspiration for some of his best known work such as Bridge Over a Pool of Water Lilies (1899) and The Artist’s Garden at Giverny (1900.)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir is another well known French Impressionist. Describing his joyful style of painting, Renoir once famously said, “Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world.” His paintings of cherubic children, beautiful women, and flowers illustrated this belief. Renoir’s A Girl With a Watering Can (1876) is one of Impressionism’s most recognizable paintings. His pleasing paintings inspired instant appeal and made Renoir one of the most popular painters of his time.
Other influential Impressionists include Paul Cezanne, Camille Pissarro, and Armand Guillaumin.