Sunday, August 19, 2012
August 19 is the birthdate of French painter Gustave Caillebotte. A lawyer from a wealthy Parisian family, he decided to pursue painting after receiving a large inheritance. Friend of Renoir and Monet (and a patron of the latter), he was an Impressionist but painted in a far more realistic manner. His masterpiece, “Paris Street; Rainy Day” (1877), captures late 19th-century urban life at an intersection near Gare Saint-Lazare, when the new boulevards had altered Paris life. The large canvas also reflects Caillebotte’s interest in photography as an art form, particularly in its emphasis on point of focus, severe cropping and the sense of a casual yet contrived snapshot. He stopped showing his work at age 34.