Episode #5 of the course “Impressionist artists who changed the art world”
A 19th-century painter, collector, and early proponent of photography, Gustave Caillebotte was a part of the Parisian Impressionist circle. The most realistic painter of the Impressionist style, his bold use of color, striking movement, and unique use of perspective was a heavy influence on the other painters. In fact, several of Caillebotte’s paintings were highly controversial for their time.
Les raboteurs de parquet
Born in 1848 to a wealthy Parisian family, Caillebotte earned a law degree in 1868 and served in the military. He returned to Paris in 1871 and began using his financial security to paint and become an art collector. He attended the first Impressionist exhibit in 1874, which inspired him to become more involved in the Paris art scene. The painting that is considered his first masterpiece, Les raboteurs de parquet, was rejected by the Paris Salon in 1875. The subject material was considered controversial and the style shocking.
Paris, a Rainy Day
Young Man at the Window
Over the next decade, Caillebotte painted scenes of domestic bourgeois life, landscapes, and moments of urban life. One of the most well-known of these paintings, Young Man at the Window, is a portrait of his son; it is an example of his precise realism and the new style of painting in an urban landscape. His range is greater than many other artists of the time as far as his use of perspective and the different subjects he brings to the canvas, but his paintings are largely limited to scenes of urban life.
Caillebotte continued to paint but was mainly known as a supporter rather than an artist in his own right throughout the 1880s and into the early 1890s. He stopped painting large oil paintings in 1892, which was ostensibly the end of his career. It wasn’t until after his death in 1895 that art critics began to recognize the contributions that he made with his own paintings.
Gustave Caillebotte on WikiArt
“The Private Lives of the Impressionists” by Sue Roe
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