Gustave Caillebotte

Born 1848. Died 1894.
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Gustave Caillebotte Biography

Gustave Caillebotte was a leading figure of the Impressionist movement, however his approach to painting at times retained a Realist aesthetic and in certain qualities predated the painterly experimentation of the Post-Impressionists. Influenced by the contemporary advent and rise of photography, Caillebotte produced innovative compositions that presented snapshots of everyday life, with cropped figures and expanded perspectives. His interest in Japanese prints led him to experiment with flattened forms and tilted vantage points, which pushed forward the avant-garde aesthetic. His paintings serve as Impressionist documents of the broadened boulevards and open views of Paris after the Haussmannization project completed in 1870.

Born in Paris in 1848, Caillebotte studied law and engineering before fighting in the Franco–Prussian War from 1870 to 1871. After the war’s end, he studied at the studio of Léon Bonnat and later at the École des Beaux Arts. Upon meeting Edgar Degas, Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet, Caillebotte experimented further with capturing the changing face of everyday Parisian life, and began to exhibit in the Impressionist exhibitions in the late 1870s. Upon inheriting his family’s vast wealth, he was able to support his fellow Impressionist painters as their patron, in addition to working alongside them. Having never had to sell his works to support himself, his contribution to Modern painting was overshadowed by his status as a collector of Impressionist, Post-impressionist, Fauvist and Symbolist works; however, recent art historians have reevaluated his paintings as substantially innovative works at the intersection of Realism, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, that encapsulate the end of the 20th century in Paris.

Caillebotte’s paintings occupy many major museums and galleries including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, which holds 40 of his paintings, and many others. As a major artist of the Impressionist movement, his paintings collect impressively high sums; Garden of the Little Gennevilliers sold for $1.3 million and Boat Moored on the Seine at Argenteuil sold for $6.7 million.

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