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Gustave Caillebotte | Impressionist painter | Page 3


Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894), French painter, art collector and impresario who combined aspects of the academic and Impressionist styles in a unique synthesis.
Born into a wealthy family, Caillebotte trained to be an engineer but became interested in painting and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
He met Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet in 1874 and showed his works at the Impressionist exhibition of 1876 and its successors.


Caillebotte became the chief organizer, promoter, and financial backer of the Impressionist exhibitions for the next six years, and he used his wealth to purchase works by other Impressionists, notably Monet, Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Alfred Sisley and Berthe Morisot.
Caillebotte was an artist of remarkable abilities, but his posthumous reputation languished because most of his paintings remained in the hands of his family and were neither exhibited nor reproduced until the second half of the 20th century.
His early paintings feature the broad new boulevards and modern apartment blocks created by Baron Haussmann for Paris in the 1850s and ’60s.
The iron bridge depicted in The Pont de l’Europe (1876) typifies this interest in the modern urban environment, and The Floor Scrapers (1875) is a realistic scene of urban craftsmen busily at work.
Caillebotte’s masterpiece, Paris Street; Rainy Day (1877), uses bold perspective to create a monumental portrait of a Paris intersection on a rainy day.

Caillebotte also painted portraits and figure studies, boating scenes and rural landscapes, and decorative studies of flowers. He tended to use brighter colours and heavier brushwork in his later works.



Caillebotte’s originality lay in his attempt to combine the careful drawing and modeling and exact tonal values advocated by the Académie with the vivid colours, bold perspectives, keen sense of natural light, and modern subject matter of the Impressionists🎨.

Caillebotte’s posthumous bequest of his art collection to the French government was accepted only reluctantly by the state.
When the Caillebotte Room opened at the Luxembourg Palace in 1897, it was the first exhibition of Impressionist paintings ever to be displayed in a French museum.
Comprising such masterpieces as Renoir’s Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (1876)🎨 and Édouard Manet’s The Balcony (1868-69), the bequest later formed the base of the Impressionist collection at the Musée d’Orsay. | © Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.


























Nonostante l'impegno impressionista Gustave Caillebotte interpretò gli stilemi del movimento in modo assolutamente personale, senza abdicare alla propria formazione e ubbidendo soprattutto alla propria sensibilità.
Alla poetica dell'attimo fuggente e irripetibile, colto in un solo battito di ciglia, egli preferì infatti la solida costruttività del disegno, già appreso durante il discepolato con Bonnat: in aperta controtendenza con l'impostazione impressionista, d'altronde, egli era solito meditare a lungo sulle composizioni, realizzando talora diversi schizzi preparatori.


L'originalità del Caillebotte, dunque, sta proprio nel mirabile equilibrio con cui riusciva a fondere la sua dichiarata matrice accademica con gli spunti di modernità, intelligentemente soppesati e impiegati.
Non desta meraviglia, pertanto, che lo stile di Caillebotte non è interamente impressionista, bensì presenta anche contaminazioni accademiste e realiste.
Il repertorio figurativo di Caillebotte, in particolare, è colmo di temi tratti dalla quotidianità e dalla contemporaneità.
Caillebotte, infatti, era troppo affascinato dalla realtà quotidiana per dimenticare, anche per un attimo, i piallatori che raschiavano i parquet degli eleganti palazzi haussmanniani, o i giovani canottieri che si consacrano agli ozi campagnoli vogando placidamente sulla Senna, o magari il fascino umbratile di un'ordinaria giornata di pioggia a Parigi.



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