Earlier this spring a painting signed Monet was sold at the Dutch auction site Catawiki. The painting Nitia sur le pont dans le jardin de Claude Monet from 1927 was made by Claude Monet's stepdaughter, moreover daughter-in-law, Blanche and depicts her niece Nitia leaning against the bar on the famous bridge in Monet’s garden.

Blanche Hoschedé Monet, born in Paris in 1865, was the daughter of Ernest and Alice Hoschedé. Her father was not only a businessman but also an art collector with a great interest in the impressionist painters of the time. As a patron to Claude Monet, at the dawn of the artist’s career, the two men became close friends and Monet painted a great wall decoration in the drawing-room of Hoschedé’s château de Rottembourg in Motegron.

However, Ernest's luck did not last and in 1877 he went bankrupt. As a consequence, his art collections were actioned out. The family, Ernest, Alice and six children moved in with the Monet family in Vétheuil. Ernest didn’t spend much time with them however and stayed in Paris and later moved to Belgium. Monet had two sons together with his wife Camille at the time. But soon after the move, Camille passed away in 1879. Claude Monet and Alice stayed together in Vétheuil with eight children altogether until 1881 when they moved to Poissy and eventually on to Giverny in 1883. Alice and Ernest never divorced but the relationship between Claude and Alice grew stronger and stronger. And after Ernest’s death in 1891 the couple got married.

Giverny, 31 October 1900. The Monet-Hoschedé family celebrates the marriage between Marthe Hoschedé and Théodore Butler. Pierre Sisley sits on the ground to the right, his sister Jeanne stands behind him, Monet lies on the stair to the left. Image via Flickr Giverny, 31 October 1900. The Monet-Hoschedé family celebrates the marriage between Marthe Hoschedé and Théodore Butler. Pierre Sisley sits on the ground to the right, his sister Jeanne stands behind him, Monet lies on the stair to the left. Image via Flickr

Blanche and her five siblings were now officially the stepchildren of the great artist. But Blanche was the only one of the eight children who took an interest in art. When she was 11 years old she had started to paint and spent a lot of time in Monet’s studio as well as Édouard Manet’s. At the age of 17, she worked as an assistant to Monet and had become his only apprentice. Inspired by her teacher and stepfather she adopted the artist’s impressionist style and portrayed the same subjects as him in the typical green and purple colour scheme.

Claude Monet, "In the Woods at Giverny: Blanche Hoschedé at Her Easel with Suzanne Hoschedé Reading", 1887. Image courtesy of Los Angeles County Museum of Art Claude Monet, "In the Woods at Giverny: Blanche Hoschedé at Her Easel with Suzanne Hoschedé Reading", 1887. Image courtesy of Los Angeles County Museum of Art

She went on to paint alongside the American artists Theodore Earl Butler and John Leslie Breck and a romance soon developed between the young girl and Breck. Monet did not like what he saw and made sure the love affair came to an end. Perhaps because Monet himself had another fiancé in mind for his beloved stepdaughter…

In 1897 Blanche married Claude Monet's son Jean and became not only stepdaughter but also the daughter in law of the great artist. The couple lived in Rouen, which landscapes became a common motif in Blanche’s works.

Madame Kuroki, Claude Monet (1840-1926), Alice Butler (1894-1949), Blanche Hoschedé-Monet and Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929) in Giverny. © Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris / Bridgeman Images Madame Kuroki, Claude Monet (1840-1926), Alice Butler (1894-1949), Blanche Hoschedé-Monet and Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929) in Giverny.
© Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris / Bridgeman Images

Claude and Blanche’s relationship lasted until Claude's death in 1926. After Blanche’s mother’s death, she took over the Monet household and lived with the old man during the difficult period when the artist suffered from depression and started to lose his sight.

The common friend, Georges Clemenceau called Blanche Monet’s blue angel and Dr Janine Burke has expressed that Blanche probably assisted Monet in the making of the Grandes Décorations.

Blanche stayed at Giverny for the rest of her life and took care of the house as well as the garden. At the age of 82, she passed away in Nice.

The painting Nitia sur le pont dans le jardin de Claude Monet, painted by the stepdaughter, apprentice and lifelong friend of Claude Monet, was sold for €51,000 on 25th March 2018 at Catawiki.

Do you have an artwork - or other items - you’re interested in selling? Read more about how to do it at Catawiki.

And don’t forget to check out all Catawiki’s auctions at Barnebys.

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