The history of the Baudy family and American painters probably goes back to the summer of 1886. ( by Claire Joyces).
Lucien Baudy and his wife, Angélina (née Ledoyen), lived at the Ferme de la Côte, birthplace of the Ledoyen family. They bought a small house a little further down in the village, at the site of the future hotel, and Lucien became a traveling salesman for the manufacturer of sewing machines. Angélina , was what was called at the time a "maîtresse d’hôtel" and ran the family café/grocery store. Human memory changes past events so that sometimes it is difficult to distinguish truth from fantasy, in the inextricable jungle of things recalled. If only Madame Baudy had kept a journal ! ...
Painters had to decide where to go for the summer months when studios at the Beaux-Arts or the Académies were closed, and since the eyes never test, their vacations were little more than a new campaign for painting. But why did they choose Giverny ?… No one really knows. And why did they knock at the door of the Café Baudy in particular when at the time were four cafés in the village ? Monet stayed at one, near the train station and opposite the marshlands, before he could settle in his house. It was called "La Grenouillère" (Frog Pond), a name impossible to forget.
It is very likely that the first American painters who came to Giverny did not know that Monet lived there. Traditionally, the Hoschedé-Monet family claims that when Robinson was working at Barbizon around 1885, he was introduced to Monet by the French painter Deconchy, a mutual friend who owned a house at Gasny, four kilometers from Giverny. In 1886 Metcalf supposedly came by himself. Looking for a room, he approached Madame Baudy who, unaccustomed to foreigners, shut the door. Enchanted by the scenery and refusing to give up, Metcalf came back again with Breck, Taylor, Blair-Bruce and Wendel. Later, Sargent, who was already well-acquainted with Monet and who frequented the American circles in Paris, would have recommended Giverny, where he painted in 1887, to several of his comrades, such as Hart, Beckwith and Theodore Butler. Gossip in the studios at Paris accomplished the test.