alice monet

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Monet at Poissy (19)
A walk on the cliffs
Monet was eager to show Alice Hoschedé and the children the beautiful spots he had discovered in the Pourville area. He rented the “Villa Juliette” from 17 June to 5 October 1882, and spent a family holiday with them.
He still painted a lot during that period, but also accompanied Alice and the children like on walks on the cliffs, as we can see in the top painting, where Alice and one of her daughters ventured to the edge of the cliff.

“Que la campagne devient belle et quel bonheur ce serait pour moi de vous montrer ces coins délicieux qu’il y a ici.” (Monet in his letter of 4 April to Alice Hoschedé)

Claude Monet, Promenade sur la falaise, Pourville (Walk on the Cliff at Pourville), 1882. Oil in canvas, 65 x 81 cm. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (plus detail)

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Monet at Vétheuil (54)
Alice in Monetland
In late spring, early summer of 1880, Alice Hoschedé made her first discrete appearances in a few of Monet’s paintings made on the Île de Saint-Martin-la-Garenne. Monet sometimes called it the Flower Island (“Île des fleurs”).

Alice sits in the boat and hides from the sun under an umbrella.

Claude Monet, Vétheuil, 1880. Oil on canvas, 60 x 100 cm. Private collection

"The Impressionists" BBC, review

Just saw again, “The Impressionists” from the BBC and as always, I’m totally fond of this movie.

I assure you that is not only because Richard Armitage plays Monet even if I must admit it counts a lot in the balance.

But the movie is simply beautiful, poetic, glorifying Monet’s incredibly beautiful paintings and the ones of the others Impressionists: Renoir, Manet, Degas, Cézanne, Bazille.

Since my childhood, I always loved Renoir’s work and was incredibly attracted and moved by Monet’s art.

When I read about his biography and all the passion he showed every single day of his life, not only in his art but also in his private life, I was astonished that someone could be so intense!

His love for Camille, his first wife, his main modele, the mother of his children, was wholeheartly, his first and true attachment.

Monet couldn’t stop painting her, even on her deathbed overcome by grief as he was. Her death leaves him desperate, possible reason why the painting remained in his possession for most of his life.

Alice Hoschedé was his constant friend and support since he met her before the death of Camille. Some sources said they were lovers before Camille’s death til Alice death in 1911 and that her last child, Jean-Pierre was not Hoschedé’s son but Monet’s.

Others sources said Alice was always on his side as a close friend and his lover in feelings  even not for real til Hoschedé died and they married in 1892.

One thing is sure, in 1883, Monet wrote to her:

  • “Think that I love you and living without you would be impossible to me.”
  • Pensez bien que je vous aime et qu'il me serait impossible de vivre sans vous.” (Wikipedia)
  • “I feel I love you more than you imagine, more than I even believed. You can’t know what I suffer since sunday morning, in what angst I was to hear from you: you can appraise my state of mind when, this morning, I received your four lines telling me more than four detailled pages.”
  • « Je sens bien que je vous aime plus que vous ne supposez, plus que je ne croyais même. Vous ne pouvez savoir ce que je souffre depuis dimanche matin, dans quelle anxiété j'étais d'avoir de vos nouvelles : vous pouvez juger de mon état quand, ce matin, j'ai reçu vos quatre lignes qui m'en disent plus que quatre pages détaillées. »

(English translation of those sentences are mine and are surely awfully wrong but I tried to do my best…)

It’s also proved that Alice was consumed by jealousy of her departed rival - probably because she knew Camille had always been the only and true love of Claude - and destroyed all photographic records of Camille. Only one photo is known to have survived. Taken in Holland in 1871, it was kept in a private collection about which Alice knew nothing. (source)

I really love the way the movie treated this part of Monet’s story, making it clear that even if Claude and Alice were in love with each other, - and even if they felt close to the other before Camille’s death I can’t imagine Claude being unfaithful to the wife he loved so much - they didn’t consummate their love until Alice was free.

You can see it when Claude tells Alice she will sleep upstairs at Giverny while he will be downstairs and when he scowls at her about her birthday:

“Please don’t punish me for not behaving like a husband. l would very much like to behave like a husband, but as you never cease reminding me you are married to somebody else.”

Monet’s quest of light was the only purpose of his life. He wanted to show reality and like light changed every second, he was always running after it, working on several paints at the same time only to grasp the better light, forgetting everything and sometimes everyone around him.

For me, Richard Armitage’s interpretation of Claude Monet is totally wonderful. First, he shows perfectly the passionate side of the man in every piece of his life but also he succeed to make us feel every emotion his character struggles with.

Richard has the necessary ardor, the energy and the idealism to allow us to imagine how filled with passion and devotion for his art Monet really was.

Monet’s feelings about the women of his life are beautifully depicted on the movie.

Richard’s way to play moving me deeply by how affected he seems by the dilemma concerning Camille and his unborn child, Claude’s despair about how they struggled greatly with poverty, Camille’s illness and death, Alice’s refusal to divorce with Hoschedé to marry him while they were in love and probably already lovers…

Richard gives an undeniable romantic touch by the way he acts, how expressive his features are, how deep he immerses himself in his role. Even his body gesture and his silhouette seem to fit perfectly to delude us.

I don’t know if you already have seen this movie in three parts made by the BBC in 2006 but if not, don’t waste any more time cause you will never regret it.

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Monet at Poissy (42)
Silence before the storm
While Monet was working in Etretat, Alice Hoschedé was left behind in the house in Poissy that she shared with him. Monet was aware that she was unhappy and still struggling with the ambiguity of the fact that she was still married to Ernest Hoschedé, while living under one roof with her favorite artist.
During his first week at Etretat, Monet advised Alice not to leave things to chance, and to confront her husband asap: “This meeting could lead to a better solution. After all, how can he consider to take you back in the situation that he has created for himself?”

Apparently, Monet was still confident in the outcome.

Claude Monet, Etretat, soleil couchant (Etretat, Sunset), 1833. Oil on canvas, 55 x 81 cm. Museum of Art, Raleigh, Noth Carolina, USA
Claude Monet, Coucher de soleil (Sunset), 1883. Oil on canvas, 60 x 73 cm. Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy, Nancy, France
Claude Monet, Etretat, la falaise d'Aval au coucher du soleil (Etretat, the Needle Rock and the Porte d'Aval, sunset), 1883. Oil on canvas, 60 x 81 cm. Private collection