A LIFE OF PAINTING

Following are excerpts from a chronology of Monet's life as narrated in the Art Institute's exhibition catalogue, ''Claude Monet: 1840-1926.''

1840: Oscar-Claude Monet is born in Paris on Nov. 14.

Mid-1850s: Monet paints out-of-doors for the first time, later recalling: ''It was as if a veil suddenly lifted from my eyes and I knew that I could be a painter.''

1864: Monet paints in Normandy: ''Every day I discover still more beautiful things. It's enough to drive one mad, I've got such a desire to do everything, my head explodes .... I want to struggle, scrape off, begin again.''

1884: ''One needs a palette of diamonds and jewels here because of the blues and pinks,'' Monet writes upon his arrival in Bordighera, Italy. ''Now I grasp this fairytale-like country, and it is precisely this marvelous side that I so want to render.''

1886: Monet travels to the French island of Belle-Isle. ''I must make great efforts to make the paintings somber, to render this sinister, tragic aspect, [for I am] more inclined to soft, tender colors ....''

1914: Monet expresses an intention to undertake the waterlilies murals at his home in Giverny, France.

1926: Monet passes away on Dec. 5. The following year, his waterlilies murals are installed at the Orangerie, Paris, a gift from the artist to the French state.

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