Thursday, March 10, 2011

Did Alice really destroy all of Camille's letters? A 19th century soap opera!

A recent article in the Guardian has declared that Monet's second wife, Alice, destroyed all of the personal papers of Monet's first wife and muse, the lovely Camille, who died at the age of 32 from cancer. The whole situation of Monet's relationship with Alice Hoschede, his patron's wife, is shrouded in mystery to this day, I told the story as I believed it in CLAUDE & CAMILLE, and yet it was strange even to the Parisians of the day. When Alice's wealthy husband became bankrupt, Monet took Alice and her six children to live with him in his drafty house forty miles from Paris. Some people say he was already her lover, but it would be strange for Alice cared for the dying Camille, even arranging a Catholic wedding for Claude and Camille a few days before she died. Was this then the woman who supposed destroyed poor Camille's personal papers? If so she was a complicated woman indeed! She left diaries but they are unpublished. I would love to read them. Book clubs often ask me how much of the novel is true. How can you look into the complicated heart of anyone, and be clear about what they did in private more than 130 years ago? Or maybe when Alice and Claude moved in haste to Giverny, they left Camille's papers behind along with many unpaid bills...

The picture of Alice is by Carulus-Duran who also painted Claude Monet when they were both students; it was painted when Alice was still a wealthy woman in her chateau, never dreamingof falling in love with a painter who would remove her to the remote town of Giverny.

8 comments:

  1. How fascinating! Thanks for sharing this.

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  2. Makes you wonder. The cover is definitely new take on the story. It is more romantic.

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  3. Perhaps it wasn't even Alice.. was it Claude? Would love a link to the article.. I'll go google it..
    Nevertheless.. I loved the way you interpreted the "triangle".. it is indeed a mystery how the situation really played out realistically.

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  4. This is some tangled web they lived. I too wish we could know what was in her diary. Very interesting Thanks yvonne

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  5. Marie, some people say it was Claude who destroyed the papers. Alice was very jealous. I think it was not too far fetched that in my novel, he buries them in the water lily garden. But then...he could have just forgot them. Alice and Claude had a terrible time moving to Giverny because as usual they didn't have money...fast forward to the millions one painting is worth today!

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  6. This is fascinating stuff. Thanks for visiting my blog. I didn't know about your book, and now I definitely will read it--social networking works! I majored in Art History and I adore this kind of stuff. Great blog for art and book lovers.

    PS--I see you've started a writing blog but haven't posted anything on it. I'd suggest you stick with this one and just add another page for writing tips and such. That way you don't overwork yourself or divert your possible readers. You can always change the name of your blog, without changing the url, if your next book has different subject matter. "Stephanie Cowell writes about...painters, pollywogs and punctuation." :-)

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  7. Fascinating. Sounds like a really interesting story.

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  8. If you want to make your home really look really beautiful, claude monet paintings are the best way to do it believe home looks very well decorated. If you are looking to find Oil Paintings Reproductions at very economical price or cheap rates, you must visit wahooart.com

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