Artist of the Week: Gustave Caillebotte

Gustave Caillebotte was born in 1848 to Martial and Caleste Caillebotte in a popular part of Paris. He grew up in comfort and moved to a luxurious home in the upper-class part of Paris when he was 18. French painter Gustave Caillebotte was a member, and patron of the group of artists known as Impressionists, though he painted in a much more realistic manner than many other artists in the group. Gustave Caillebotte was noted for his early interest in photography as an art form. Wealthy and generous, Caillebotte financially supported his Impressionist friends by purchasing their works at inflated prices and underwriting many of the expenses incurred for the exhibitions.

 In 1875, wishing to make his public debut, Gustave Caillebotte submitted a painting to the Salon jury, which rejected it. That work was probably the "Floorscrapers", (shown at top) which Caillebotte then decided to exhibit in a more hospitable environment, that of the second Impressionist group exhibition of 1876. His work, highly acclaimed, stole the show and helped to make the second exhibition far more of a popular success than the first. Many of Gustave Caillebotte's urban paintings were quite controversial due to their exaggerated, plunging perspective. In "Man on a Balcony" (Shown above), he invites the viewer to share the balcony with his subject and join in observing the scene of the city reaching into the distance, again by using unusual perspective. Caillebotte acquired a property at Petit-Gennevilliers, on the banks of the Seine near Argenteuil, in 1881, and moved there permanently in 1888.


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