Gustave Caillebotte

Simply because I had not heard of him, I give you some Gustave Caillebotte:

I heard of him through Waldemar Januszczak’s TV programme, and the first two pictures are those he chose to discuss. I love the light on the backs of the men: while peasants had been shown before, these are the first urban workmen in a painting.

I love the buildings, but more the Haussman spaces between them which lets me see them. I love the great city at evening with just one wheeled vehicle. Wikimedia Commons has the handy category of Paintings of the Seine by Caillebotte. I find these comparatively dull. What do you think?

Here is a luxurious but claustrophobic bourgeois interior.

George Meredith:
Modern Love XXXIV: Madam Would Speak With Me

Madam would speak with me. So, now it comes:
The Deluge or else Fire! She’s well, she thanks
My husbandship. Our chain on silence clanks.
Time leers between, above his twiddling thumbs.
Am I quite well? Most excellent in health!
The journals, too, I diligently peruse.
Vesuvius is expected to give news:
Niagara is no noisier. By stealth
Our eyes dart scrutinizing snakes. She’s glad
I’m happy, says her quivering under-lip.
“And are not you?” “How can I be?” “Take ship!
For happiness is somewhere to be had.”
“Nowhere for me!” Her voice is barely heard.
I am not melted, and make no pretence.
With commonplace I freeze her, tongue and sense.
Niagara or Vesuvius is deferred.

6 thoughts on “Gustave Caillebotte

  1. What delicious pictures you have chosen, so beautifully observed. The Seine is also lovingly coloured and atmospheric, but why do I feel that Gustave is uncomfortable with water, with painting waves?

    Wonderful post, Clare, thank you!

    XX 🙂


    • I am glad to remind you. A picture on a screen is nothing compared to the real thing- the colours can be different, and the impact of the picture is far less- and yet a reminder is worthwhile when we cannot get to the galleries.


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