Gustave Caillebotte, At a Café, 1880
oil on canvas, Musée d'Orsay, Paris
On deposit at Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen
© RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY
Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter's Eye
WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES • National Gallery of Art • 28 June - 4 October 2015
|Fifty of the most important and beloved paintings of Paris and its environs by impressionist Gustave Caillebotte (1848–1894) are the focus of the first major U.S. retrospective of the artist's work in 20 years.|
Organized thematically, the exhibition showcases Caillebotte's fascination with the contemporary lifestyle of the Parisian bourgeoisie, from depictions of interior life, portraits, and still lifes, to urban street views and idyllic river scenes. Many of the works on view were completed between 1875 and 1885, the period in which Caillebotte was most involved with the impressionist movement.
Caillebotte sought to depict contemporary home life in the French capital, such as interior vantage points and views from the inside looking out. The exhibition opens with scenes of work and play set in bourgeois interiors, including A Game of Bezique (1881, Louvre, Abu Dhabi), Young Man Playing the Piano (1876, Bridgestone Museum of Art), and his first important painting The Floor Scrapers (1875, Musée d'Orsay). Views from balconies of the new buildings that were part of Haussmann's building project were of particular interest to Caillebotte, including The Rue Halévy, Seen from a Balcony (1878, Joan and Bernard Carl), a completely exterior view, and Interior, Woman at the Window (1880, Private Collection), a view from inside an apartment looking out.
Street views of Paris as revitalized by Haussmann are Caillebotte's most renowned works, including Paris Street, Rainy Day (1877, The Art Institute of Chicago) and The Pont de l'Europe (1876, Petit Palais, Geneva), both of which were included at the impressionist exhibition of 1877.
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