CLAUDE MONET and GEORGE W. THORNLEY Blanche Hoschedé, peignant.
Color lithograph on off-white Chine appliqué on cream wove paper, 1894. 163x203 mm; 6 1/2x8 inches, full margins. The deluxe edition of 25. Signed by both Monet and Thornley, lower margin and with Thornley's red ink stamp, not in Lugt lower right recto. Printed by Belfond, Paris, with the blind stamp (Lugt 225, lower left recto). Published by Goupil, Paris. From L'Album de 20 lithographies d'apres les tableaux de Claude Monet. A superb, richly-inked impression of this extremely scarce lithograph, with strong contrasts.
At the end of the 19th century, Monet (1840-1926, see lots 47-51 ), Edgar Degas (1834-1917, see lots 36-39 ) and Camille Pissarro (1830-1903, see lots 53-63 ) rediscovered lithography as a medium both to recreate their artistic conceptions on paper and simultaneously achieve widespread distribution of and acclamation for their work. These artists, who had invented new ways of transmitting impressions of light and color, changing the course of art, engaged George William Thornley (1857-1935), an accomplished English lithographer and admirer of the Impressionists, to translate their designs into lithographs. The prints that emerged from these collaborative efforts are the only lithographs in color, save one by Pissarro, by these great Impressionist artists.
Until he met Thornley, Monet had evidenced no interest in making prints. Unlike Degas and Pissarro, who etched on copper and drew on stone or transfer paper, or Cézanne (1839-1906, see lots 64-66 ), Sisley (1839-1899, see lot 71 ) and Renoir (1841-1919, see lots 43-46 ), who collaborated with Auguste Clot, the talented Parisian master printer, to create color lithographs, Monet either found printmaking too daunting or did not seek the public acclaim for his work that printmaking could provide. However, he was able to find a hospitable partner in Thornley. The resulting collaborative lithographs of landscapes and seascapes, signed by Monet in pencil, are informed with the elusive and shimmering light of his iconic Impressionist oil paintings.
Blanche Hoschedé Monet (1865-1947) was a French artist who was both the stepdaughter and the daughter-in-law of Claude Monet. She married Claude Monet's eldest son, Jean Monet, in 1897. The couple lived in Rouen, where Jean worked as a chemist for his uncle Léon Monet. Blanche worked frequently at Giverny during the 1880s and 1890s, adopting a style of pure Impressionism similar to Monet's (scholars believe she may assisted Monet on some of his later oil paintings). She certainly supported Monet as he grew older and suffered from a loss of eyesight, taking over her father-in-law's household at Giverny and helping the ailing, older artist in all aspects of his life and work. The politician Georges Clemenceau, their common friend, referred to Blanche as Monet's "Blue Angel." After Monet's death in 1926, and for twenty years until her own in 1947, she took on the responsibility of the house and gardens at Giverny.