The Forgotten Virtuoso: Blanche Hoschedé-Monet
View the original article here >
ARTFIX DAILY, January 13, 2017--
With a glorious oeuvre that radiates with the influence of her mentor, step-father and father-in-law Claude Monet, Blanche Hoschedé-Monet’s canvases are amongst the most stunning Impressionist paintings ever composed. Even though, in many ways, her paintings are almost indistinguishable in beauty and technical prowess from the works of the Impressionist master, Hoschedé-Monet has only recently begun to receive her rightful recognition as a pivotal member of the Impressionist Movement.
Born into an affluent family in 1865, Hoschedé-Monet began painting at the age of 11, not as a pathway to a career, but as a pursuit intended to eventually make her a more well-rounded and therefore, more desirable, wife. Her father Ernest, a wealthy merchant, was a friend and great patron of Monet’s works, even acquiring Monet’s famed Impression, Sunrise (1872), the work that gave the Impressionist Movement its name. However, by 1878 the Hoschedé’s lost their fortune, and Monet invited his former patrons to live with his family. By 1880, Monet’s wife Camille succumbed to cancer, and Ernest had abandoned his family, leaving his wife Alice and six children to stay with Monet. Alice stepped in and took charge of caring for Monet’s two sons, Michel and Jean, along with her own children. In 1892, Claude and Alice would become husband and wife, with Blanche and Jean Monet marrying just five years later.
During this time, Monet took a great interest in Blanche’s desire to paint, and he immediately took the burgeoning artist on as his protégé. By the age of 17, Blanche was his only student, and the two became inseparable. Painting en plein air, the pair would rest their easels right next to each other, with Blanche closely following Monet’s advice and absorbing every nuance and bit of information at the hands of the master.
This kinship is beautifully reflected in Dans le Jardin à Sorel-Moussel (In the Garden at Sorel-Moussel), which depicts the home of Blanche’s brother-in-law, Michel Monet. The play of light through the lush foliage, and the use of such a brilliant color palette with short, purposeful brushstrokes has been described as “pure Impressionism.” Elevating the rarity and importance of the present work is that of the inclusion of figures, as she tended to shy away from portraiture. Of the three paintings of Michel’s home she composed in her career, this is the only one that features members of her family.
Blanche’s paintings were exhibited extensively at the Salon des Indépendants as well as the Salon de la Société des Artistes Rouennais throughout her career. Today, her works are coveted by museums throughout the world, and prized in a handful of private collections. Though her gorgeous paintings were greatly influenced by her mentor, it is clear that Blanche Hoschedé-Monet’s incredible canvases stand firm in their own right, holding true to the root of Impressionist ideals and more than deserve their place in the annals of art history.