Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Gustave Caillebotte’s Urban Intimacy

Artists' Stories

Gustave Caillebotte’s Urban Intimacy

Gustave Caillebotte was a master of urban intimacy. He was a member and patron of the artists known as Impressionists, in fact he painted in a much more realistic manner than many other artists in the group. Caillebotte wanted to paint reality as it existed and as he saw it, hoping to reduce the inherent theatricality of painting. He was one of the first painters interested in photography – he often used cropping and “zooming-in” techniques but his realism didn’t end up with just that. Caillebotte was trying to catch the psychological complexity, boredom, loneliness, and sense of distance. Here we present a gallery of his paintings… with people at windows.

Caillebotte’s focus on urban themes intensified after 1879, when, after his mother’s death, the artist left the family house at the corner of the rue de Miromesnil and the rue de Lisbonne, and moved to the sixth floor apartment on the boulevard Haussmann. The discovery of the grand boulevards, with the Opéra appearing in the distance, had a great impact on his art.

Young Man at his Window

Gustave Caillebotte, Young Man at His Window, 1875, private collection

Gustave Caillebotte, Young Man at His Window, 1875, private collection


This painting depicts the artist’s brother, René Caillebotte, wearing informal clothes and standing at a balcony from the family home in the Rue de Miromesnil in Paris, looking outwards into Boulevard de Malesherbes. Is René watching the woman on the street? Does he know her?

Caillebotte presented this painting at the Impressionism exhibition of 1876. Émile Zola was impressed with technical achievement of the works, but was not enthusiastic about the style: “Photography of reality which is not stamped with the original seal of the painter’s talent—that’s a pitiful thing.” He called the painting “anti-artistic… because of the exactitude of the copying.”

Interior, Woman at the Window

Gustave Caillebotte, Interior, Woman at the Window, 1880, Private Collection

Gustave Caillebotte, Interior, Woman at the Window, 1880, Private Collection


This painting shows a man and woman within a compressed space. The coldness of their emotional distance can be easily sensed despite their physical proximity. The man, seated in an armchair, is absorbed in his newspaper while the woman stands before the window and gazes at the boulevard below, equally consumed by her own thoughts. Across the street there is another figure, who’s glimpsing through the parted curtains and perhaps watching the woman. It is a picture that suggests loneliness, isolation, and desire.

Man on a Balcony, Boulevard Haussmann – Gustave Caillebotte

Gustave Caillebotte, Man on a Balcony, Boulevard Haussmann, 1880, private collection

Gustave Caillebotte, Man on a Balcony, Boulevard Haussmann, 1880, private collection

This painting was sold on an auction in 2000 for $14,306,00. But we don’t want to talk money here. The masterpiece captures the view from the artist’s Parisian apartment at the corner of the rue Gluck and the boulevard Haussmann, in the 9th arrondissement. Caillebotte here was no longer interested in the depiction of the street, nor in the confrontation between interior and exterior, focusing instead on the perspective of the boulevard and the light effects.

A Balcony, Boulevard Haussmann

Gustave Caillebotte A Balcony Boulevard Haussmann 1880, private collection

Gustave Caillebotte, A Balcony, Boulevard Haussmann, 1880, private collection


For many years and in part because he never had to sell his work to support himself, Caillebotte’s reputation as a painter was overshadowed by his recognition as a supporter of the arts.  His art was largely forgotten until the 1950s when his descendents began to sell out the family collection. In 1964, The Art Institute of Chicago acquired Paris Street; Rainy Day, spurring American interest in the artist. By the 1970s, his works luckily were being exhibited again and critically reassessed.

Find out more:

     

Art Historian, huge fan of Giorgione and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Founder and CEO of DailyArtMagazine.com and DailyArt mobile app. But to be honest, her greatest accomplishment is being the owner of Pimpek the Cat.

Comments

More in Artists' Stories

  • Artist

    Titian’s Metamorphoses

    By

    In the 1550s and early 1560s Titian delivered a series of seven large canvases to King Phillip II of Spain. Each translated a small section of the Epic poem Metamorphoses, by Roman poet Ovid, into paint. Titian coined the term “Poesie” to describe them: paintings which...

  • Alexander McQueen, F/W 2009 Collection, Source: aeworld. Alexander McQueen, F/W 2009 Collection, Source: aeworld.

    Artists' Stories

    The Majestic Art of Alexander McQueen

    By

    A Champagne Supernova, as Maureen Callahan calls him in her book, Alexander McQueen, was a pioneer of the 90s fashion. Along with Marc Jacobs, he was one of the most influential designers of the industry, remembered for his raw and powerful shows and his theatrical designs. Today,...

  • 20th century

    The Works of Yves Klein: Lover of Blue

    By

    Yves Klein was born in late April of 1928 in Nice, France. His mother, Marie Raymond, was a renowned member of the Art Informel movement, which involved abstract styles and gesture painting. His father, Fred Klein, was known for his landscapes in a Post-Impressionist style. While...

  • 20th century

    Filmmaking is like Painting – Andrzej Wajda as a Painter

    By

    Ladies and Gentlemen, and now I will speak in Polish… – the famous words Polish director Andrzej Wajda (1926-2016) said while receiving an honorary Oscar in 2000 for a lifetime achievement crowned WAJDA, an exhibition revealing Wajda as a painter. Andrzej Wajda is one of the...

  • 20th century

    Beatles and Biennales – the Life and Times of Robyn Denny

    By

    In a grim and conservative post-war Britain, Robyn Denny burst onto the art scene like a Holi festival colour bomb. He arrived at art school in London in 1951 just as British art was looking away from its European heritage, over the ocean to America, where...

To Top

Just to let you know, DailyArt Magazine’s website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic. Read cookies policy