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Monet’s Second Wife: Alice Hoschede

  • July 8, 2014
  • Monet
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Ernest Hoschede was a patron of Claude Monet’s and early Impressionist painting. The wealthy department store owner collected a number of paintings by Monet and had commissioned him to do a series of decorative panels for his country home at Mongeron. This commission led to a friendship between the two families. More and more frequently Ernest was absent from the family and Monet began to develop a closer friendship with Alice.

In 1878 Ernest was faced with bankruptcy and was forced to sell his art collection. He spent most of his time in Paris, essentially abandoned his family including his wife Alice and their six children, Marthe, Blanche, Suzanne, Jaques, Germaine and Jean-Pierre. In 1878, Monet’s second son, Michel, was born which was followed by the rapid decline in Monet’s wife, Camille’s, health. This put a strain on Monet’s finances. Monet’s family moved into the Hoschede family home on the Seine at Vetheuil where they lived with Alice and her six children for the next three years. September 5 of 1879, Camille died after a long period of suffering, leaving behind Monet and their two children.

Portrait of Blanche Hoschedé as a Young Girl

Portrait of Blanche Hoschedé as a Young Girl

Monet was now essentially the new head of a household which included his two sons as well as Alice Hoschede and her six children. The pressure to earn money was now more intense than ever. It was during this period that Monet did a great deal of traveling. While he traveled he wrote letters to his friends as well as his family and Alice. He was sometimes gone for months at a time leaving Alice to care for his children though he wrote to her on a daily basis while he was gone.

In the Woods at Giverny: Blanche Hoschedé at her Easel with Suzanne Hoschedé Reading

In the Woods at Giverny: Blanche Hoschedé at her Easel with Suzanne Hoschedé Reading

In 1881 the families moved out of the Hoschede family home and into a home in Poissy. In 1883 they moved west along the Seine to a rented home at Giverny. During this time the couple managed to create a secure situation for all the children though they did face difficulties and discussed separating at different times.

Blanche Hoschedé Painting

Blanche Hoschedé Painting

In 1891 Ernest Hoschede died leaving an opportunity for Monet to marry Alice which finally happened in 1892. The marriage was followed by nearly 20 years of stability for the combined family. It is widely believed that Alice was jealous of Monet’s love for his first wife, Camille, and required that he destroy any reminder of Camille including photographs, letters and mementos.

Once married to Alice, Monet’s wandering travels essentially came to an end. Monet purchased his home at Giverny and instead of traveling he delighted in painting scenes of rivers, fields and the countryside surrounding his home. They lived together in the artist’s Giverny home until Alice’s death in 1911. Monet stayed in the house until his death in 1926.

 

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