Daddy Issues

Left: “Weeping Willow” by Claude Monet
Right: “The Weeping Willows on the Lily Pond at Giverny” by Blanche Hoschede-Monet
@ Columbus Museum of Art

Often it’s the artists who find their own way, and create a new style that catches the art world by storm, that receive our highest praise (and tunnel vision attention). But how about those painters who were so ridiculously skilled at creating pieces in the style of their mentors and heroes, that their final products are virtually indistinguishable from the artist who inspired them?

Seems to me their talent is worth more than a passing glance. Especially when said pupil lived at a time when their work was viewed as a charming little hobby — because why would a woman become a serious painter, when this would undeniably come with living in the shadow of the man widely seen as the greatest of all time? Why indeed.

I give you the uncanny valley of the work of Blanche Hoschede-Monet, Claude Monet’s stepdaughter. And daughter in law. (It’s complicated.)

Much has been speculated about the dynamic between Claude and young Blanche. He was first her hero, then her artistic mentor and private teacher, and eventually her mother’s lover. He was the arbiter of whether she could marry her talented American Impressionist painter boyfriend (verdict: no, but her older sister was later allowed to marry her own American beau). Eventually Blanche married none other than Claude’s own son, and after her husband died at a young age, she returned to Claude’s home and was his full-time caregiver until he died, after which she held several solo exhibitions of her own work to celebrate her final act of living. Meanwhile, she was heralded by French Prime Minister George Clemenceau as “The Blue Angel” for supporting Claude while he continued to work on a few more major masterpieces (pieces which she likely helped him to paint).

TL;DR: Her life story reads like crack cocaine for museum curators and historical fiction writers alike. Officially adding her to my list of artists to decorate my rabbit hole.

Shot on Pixel 6 Pro.

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