This painting, of Madame Hoschedé, was dedicated to the artist’s friend Ernest Hoschedé, by all accounts, an eccentric character. Hoschedé was the director of a Parisian department store, an occasional art critic and avid collector.
He frequented the Café Guerbois, where he kept the company of painters. Although his fortunes fluctuated, he compulsively bought paintings by Pissaro, Sisley, Degas and Monet, among others. Sisley, Manet and Monet were all guest for a time of the Hoschedé household and spent months painting at the Hoschedé mansion.
It was during one of these stays,
in the spring of 1878, that, it is suggested, Alice Hoschedé and
Monet began a love affair. After Ernest Hoschedé was forced, due
to utter financial ruin, to sell his extensive art collection (Monet bought
back several paintings for significantly less than Hoschedé himself
had originally paid Monet) his wife left him, and with complete disregard
for social propriety, moving-in with Monet, nursing for a time his dying
wife Susanne. Alice married the artist in 1891.