Happy 172nd Birthday, Claude Monet!

Born November 14, 1840, Impressionist master Claude Monet has long been lauded for the spectacular use of light and color in his paintings, often painted en plein air. However, in 1908, at the age of 68, Monet developed cataracts in both of his eyes and began to lose his sight; as his vision worsened, a new perception of the world was reflected in his increasingly abstract paintings, like Blue Water Lilies. “I see blue, I don’t see red anymore, nor yellow; this bothers me terribly because I know that these colors exist, because I know that there is red, yellow, a special green, a particular purple on my palette,” Monet said . “I don’t see them anymore as I used to see them in the past, and however I remember very well how it was like.” Although he underwent surgery on his right eye, Monet’s vision steadily worsened until his death in 1926—but he never stopped painting. “My bad sight means that I see everything through a mist,” he wrote; yet even so, “it is beautiful, and that’s what I would like to show.”