Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894)
a major Impressionist
Was Caillebotte an Impressionist?
Though Caillebotte was not part of the start of Impressionism, he joined 5 of the 8 expositions, was active in organizing them and supported them financially. He had many contacts with key figures like Degas, Monet and Renoir. His collection of impressionist paintings (many of them in musée d’Orsay) are among the most appreciated paintings. In that sense, with a delay, Caillebotte was a key figure within the ‘impressionist’ art-movement.
Though some of his earlier works are quite colourful, in most of them Caillebotte uses a lot of blacks, browns and greys. His brushstroke is quite smooth and he renders several details. Depicting every day scenes he best can be placed in the realist art-movement in line of Courbet, Manet and Degas. But during 1877 his palet changes. Caillebotte starts to use bright colours, uses juxtaposed brushstrokes and renders coloured shades. Black suits are rendered with blues. So most of his oeuvre is rendered in an impressionist painting style.
Caillebotte joined the ‘impressionist’ expositions five times:
At the 2nd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1876 Caillebotte showed 8 works. Moffett writes that Caillebotte was invited by Degas (R2,px). But another source mentions Degas had already invited him in 1874 after they met in the house of De Nittis. In 1876 it was Renoir who invited him. (iR70)
At the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1877 Caillebotte showed 6 works. Caillebotte organized this 3rd exposition and supported it financially (R41,p58;R9).
At the 4th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1879 Caillebotte showed 27 works. Caillebotte also took care of the paintings of Monet (R6,p165).
At the 5th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1880 Caillebotte showed 11 works.
At the 7th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1882 Caillebotte showed 18 works. Caillebotte was active in the preparations (R41,p58).
See link for an account. See link for his bequest.
Caillebotte at other exhibitions:
Caillebotte never exhibited at the Salon, nor at regional exhibitions noted in the Salon database (iR1). In 1875 (and 74?) his admission to the Salon was rejected (R41,p54+;R9;iR3). 1877/05/28: there were 4 works of Caillebotte at an auction sale at Hôtel Drouot (R102,p293) In 1886 Caillebotte exhibits with 11 works at the ‘Impressionists of Paris’ in New York, organised by Durand-Ruel (R102,p283;R41). 1888: exhibits 6 works at an exhibition at Durand-Ruel in Paris (R102,p283). 1888: exhibits 8 works with ‘Les XX’ in Brussels (R102,p283;R41).
Caillebotte as an artist:
1872: Caillebotte has a connection with Giuseppe de Nittis and his family (R41;iR24). Caillebotte was the godfather of his son (R41,p54). 1872: journey to Italy (R3;R41;iR24). 1872ca: Caillebotte was a pupil of Léon Bonnat in preparation of his admission to the ‘Ecole des Beaux-Arts’ (R41,p56;iR24;iR3;R3;R9;R16;R19). 1873: student at the École des Beaux-Arts, which he soon left (R41,p56;iR3;R3;R19).
Some sources mention Caillebotte first painted in an academic style (R13). From 1873-75 Caillebotte was influenced by Bastien-Lepage, Gervex and Lhermitte (R41,p83). First Caillebotte was influenced by the Realism of Degas (R9;R16;iR3). 1875-77: He rendered the daily live without any heroism and without political intentions (R41,p102). At first he used clair-obscure and firm outlines (R41,p20), rendering select details (aR1) and subdued colours (R142,p55). Duret emphasizes that Caillebotte didn’t belong to the first Impressionists and so doesn’t include him in his book (R142,p52). Later on Caillebotte was more influenced by Monet and would lighten up his palet and integrate the impressionist technique (R142,p52/5;R13). 1878 onwards he used juxtaposed touches of pure colours wich produced a vibrating palet of colours. He rendered the play of reflecting colours and figures melting in the landscape. (R41,p20). Caillebotte rendered unusual viewpoints and perspectives (R41,p102;iR3;aR1). The presence of the viewer is suggested (R41,p102;iR3). Caillebotte also was influenced by Japonism (R41;iR3).
Caillebotte had contacts with Monet and Degas (R3). 1883: contacts with Signac, with whom he shares his passion for sailing (R41). Renoir often came to stay at Gennevilliers (iR3). 1881: Caillebotte modelled for Renoir (iR3). 1888/Summer: Renoir and his wife stayed with Caillebotte in Genevilliers (R102,CR391+418).
Until 1878 many of his paintings are made in and around (the family estate) in Yerres (R102). After that he painted many works in and around his appartement at the Boulevard Haussmann (R102). Between 1879-85 Caillebotte made several paintings at the Normandy coasts (R102). 1880 onwards he also would paint many works in and around the new bought estate in Petit-Genevilliers (R102). Here he was the neighbour of his friend Eugène-Franc Lamy, whom he also did portray (R102,CR208+394+403) and also his daughter (CR458-60). 1882 onwards Caillebotte would paint many sailing boats on the Seine in the surroundings of nearby Argenteuil (R102,CR213vv;R41,p31). Monet lived in Argenteuil from 1871-78. Pool suggests that in the summer of 1874 they were neighbours, which I think is not correct (R6,p140). Besides landscapes Caillebotte also made many portraits, family scenes, interieurs and still lives (R102).
Caillebotte financially supports his fellow painters, buys their works 1875/6 onwards. (R16,p82;R3;iR3) and pays the rent of Monet his studio (iR3).
Pool (1967) mentions Caillebotte an amateur-painter (R6,p140). Caillebotte was long neglected and underappreciated (until the 1950s (iR3); until 1876 (R41,p110) (aR1). Solo exhibitions were held in 1894, 1921, 1951, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1976/7, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1989, 1994/5, 2009, 2011, 2012/3, 2013, 2015/6, 2016 (R102,p288;iR24;iR3;iR11).
Caillebotte his bequest:
Gustave Caillebotte, a short biography:
- 1848/08/19: Gustave Caillebotte was born at 160, Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis in Paris (R102,p280;R41;iR3;iR24).
At his ‘acte de décés’ his date of birth (wrongly) is mentioned as the 18th (R102,p281;R13).
He was the oldest child of Martial Caillebotte (1799-1874) and Céleste Daufresne (1819-1876), the third wife of Martial (iR3;R102,p280;R41).
His parents were rich and belonged to the ‘grand bourgeois’ (R41;R19;iR3).
- 1850: the family also dwells at 142, Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis, Paris (R41)
- 1851: his brother René was born (R41;iR3)
- 1853: his brother Martial was born; he died in 1910 (R41;iR3)
- 1857-1862: Gustave attends the Lycée Louis-le-Grande (R41)
- Early 1860s: his father had purchased a large property in Yerres, where the family would spent their summers (iR3); Yerres lies 25km south-east of Paris (iR9).
- 1866: his father had a house build on 77, Rue de Miromesnil, Paris (iR3). Another source mentions that the family moves in 1868 to an hotel on the corner of Rue Miromesnil and Rue de Lisbonne (R41)
- 1868: ends his law studies and in 1870 he receives a license to practise law (iR3;R3;R41)
- 1870/1: Gustave fights in the Franco-Prussian war in the ‘Garde Nationale Mobile de la Seine’ (iR3;R41;R3)
- 1874/12/02: his father dies; Gustave inherits a great fortune and from than on can be an independent painter (R41;iR3). Other sources mentions this was in 1873 (R3;R16).
- 1876: his brother René dies (R41;iR3)
- 1876: Gustave changes his will and writes that his collection of pictures should be given to the French state to be exhibited at the ‘Musée de Luxembourg’ and later in the Louvre (R41;iR3). He will adjust his will again in 1883 (R102,p281).
- 1878/10/20: his mother dies (R102,p94;R41)
- 1878: Gustave and his brother Martial leave the family estate in Yerres (25km south-east of Paris) and move to an appartement at Boulevard Haussmann (R102,p117;R41)
- 1880: Gustave acquires a house in Petit-Gennevilliers (R41). Wikipedia mentions this was in 1881 (iR3), Thompson (2011) mentions this was in 1888 (iR24). Wikipedia mentions he moved there permanently in 1888 (iR3). But probably this was in 1887 after his brother Martial marries and Gustave leaves the Boulevard Haussmann (R41)
- Gustave never married. He had a serious relationship with Charlotte Berthier (iR3).
- Caillebotte also was passionate in stamp collecting, orchid growing, yacht building and textile design (iR3)
- 1894/02/21: Gustave dies in his house ‘quai du Petit Gennevilliers (R102,p281;R41;iR24). He died of a heart attack (R3). Some sources render 1894/03/02 as date of death (R13).
- 1894: Gustave is buried at the Père-Lachaise cemetery (R102,p281;iR3).
My main sources are the catalogue raisonné edited by Marie Berhaut (1994=R102) and the ABCdaire (2005=R41,p116/7). Other sources are Rewald (1973=iR1), Moffett (1986=R2), Walther (2013=R3,p651/2), Denvir (1993=R5), Pool (1967/87=R6), Schurr&Cabanne (2008=R9,p145), Schilderkunst (1987=R13,p102), Spiess (1992=R16,p82-91), Keller (1985=R19,p265), Duret (1878/1923=R142), the Salondatabase (iR1), Wikipedia (iR3), RKD (iR24), and the additional references. For other general references (=R) see. My main sources (for the pictures) from the internet are the-athenaeum (iR2), Wikimedia (iR6) and Google images (iR10). For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.
Bénézit (1976,Vol.2,p447=R75; 1999,Vol.3,p104-6=R76); Busse (1977,p192=R77); Witt (1978,p47=R78); Thieme/Becker (1911,Vol.5,p361=R79); Allgemeines Künstlerlexicon (1997,Vol.15,p527=R81) (iR24)
The earlier Catalogue Raisonné of Marie Berhaut (1978) = R101