December 08, 2014

Paris Street, Rainy Day...The 'Intransigents' Bequest...and a Luncheon....


Paris Street, Rainy Day (1877) by Gustave Caillebotte
Art Institute of Chicago
wikipedia

The above painting by Gustave Caillebotte is the 2nd most famous artwork in the Art Institute of Chicago (the first being the subject of my previous post). It's huge. Rather than give dimensions, below is a pic that better demonstrates it's scale.

Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection, 1964.336

Cailleboite is one of my favorite people in history and not for being almost in the very top rank of great painters but rather for how he treated his fellow artists. He was the youngest in the group that came to be known as 'The Impressionists' to also include Renoir, Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Gaugain, Manet, Sisley and Pissarro.  While Caillebotte correctly thought himself not on the same level  as Monet and Renoir and others he did manage to create a few masterpieces that only their very best work exceeds and we are reminded that 'schadenfreude' is German not French which Caillebotte didn't practice in any language. He was a great friend and benefactor to his fellow artists using the considerable wealth he inherited to enrich all humanity. Caillebotte purchased numerous paintings from these fellow Impressionists thereby giving them much needed money to live on and creating a market. Many of his fellow 'Intransigents' as they were once referred, or Impressionists were rejected by the Salon so Caillebotte organized, financed, and promoted exhibitions bringing these future acknowledged masterpieces to public attention.

In his will, Caillebotte bequeathed to France his vast collection of now priceless paintings which the State accepted...reluctantly.

Gustave Caillebotte Self  Portrait
Musee d'Orsay
wikipedia
I can't help but think that a then unknown and struggling Monet, fresh off a sudden windfall from selling a few paintings to Caillebotte, took one of his afternoon journeys to the bakery that served those pastries he so loved. I imagine in those quiet and delicious moments of triumph he felt affirmation of his revolutionary style from a keen eye he respected and now had enough money to ease everyday burdens. It is often these timely, helpful gestures that invigorate an artist's soul into realizing a creative vision which for Monet was painting the beautiful pictures many tens of millions still stare at in awe and wonder over a century later.

We at The Den love the fine example Gustave Caillebotte set and will be looking for opportunities to honor him. We also know that in so many ways he was responsible for the most beautiful luncheon ever held.

Luncheon of the Boating Party (1881) by Renoir
The Phillips Collection Washington DC
Front right in white shirt and straw boater is Caillebotte
wikipedia
Please look in over at American Alconleigh as our dear co-conspirator is fresh back from walking the Paris Streets on a Rainy Day.

35 comments:

  1. I love the boating party paintings...off to visit American Alconleigh now as I want to hear all about Paris!

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    1. Oh yes Hostess! I do believe Bebe has a few upcoming installments in addition to what's already up! We've been watching you assemble a very nice wardrobe for your upcoming trip.

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  2. I was so fortunate to see a few of his works at the special Impressionists exhibit at Musée Marmottan in Paris earlier this year (and I believe they have one or two in their permanent collection). He's one of my favorite of the Impressionists as well, and remember reading that he was also a benefactor. GSL, have you read "The Judgement of Paris" by Ross King? It's one of my very favorite books on art history.

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    1. Upon your recommendation I have just made 'Judgement of Paris' my December or 'Decembrist' selection form audible.com. The narrator's sample I just heard confirms they have made another good selection. Many thanks for the suggestion une femme. I do wish to learn more about this fascinating period!

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    2. ...and just picked up a used 'very good condition' hardcover edition on amazon for $4 including shipping....just like Jimmy Burke in 'Goodfellas': GSL loves to steal !

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    3. Was at that same Exhibition but alas they allowed too many people in at a time so it was dreadfully crowded and uncomfortably hot and stuffy (the Petit Palais for example is usually much more careful about numbers admitted). Preferred the Marmottan before the extension when fewer people knew about it and you could wander easily amongst the Monets et al.
      Apart from my negative comments above, the actual paintings exhibited were fascinating and ones rarely exhibited as they're from private collections. Best wishes, Pammie

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    4. Pammie,
      I know what you mean as those 'blockbuster shows' that bring in the crowds do get far too crowded and at our Art Institute I take advantage of member preview events which are far less crowded...not easy to do when in town somewhere with only a few days.

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    5. Une Femme, I have finished the wonderful 'Judgment of Paris' and thank you so much for recommending it. Manet of course the star of the show with his 'Olympia' which I vaguely remember as a big fuss from Art History class decades ago. Had nearly forgotten all about Meissonier and his 'Freedland' and what a reversal of fortune for he and Monet. Also, such insightful backstory regarding Franco-Prussian War and Paris Commune.

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  3. You continue to enlighten, dear GSL. I never knew that was Caillebotte in the Boating Party.
    Who does his self portrait remind me of?..I can't put my finger on it. An actor perhaps?
    Thank you for the mention, darling. In fact, Im still in Paris: I've stopped working out and Ive taken to having a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau every day with lunch.
    Whats to become of me?...

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    1. If only I had the good fortune to be topping off your glass of Beaujolais in my panama and white shirt while fixing my gaze over at you giving Sugar Wimsey soft caresses in that blue outfit with red flowered hat from above by yet another gorgeous stylish redhead...

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  4. I always hope that those happy, rowdy people do not go on to upset any of that exquisitely-rendered glassware, for I know that's the longest party in the world. It's always sunny, the wine never gives out, the bread never stales, and the chapeaux never go out of style. . .

    I did not know about the connection and inspiration of such a sublimely pleasurable painting, for that hyacinth hair and those tortured eyes give me to think that there just might have been an absent ear, should he turn round.

    Lovely, lovely images for this rainish day---Chris is up your way, and said it rained on him all the way up. Stay dry and warm.

    And I always love a new idiom---silk pursing, indeed. Unabashedly Guilty.

    r

    r

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    1. Darling Rachel,
      Caillebotte in his intense eyes does bear a resemblance to the absent Van Gogh. Incidentally the lovely redhead in the red flowered hat and dog opposite Caillebotte is a seamstress who would later become Mrs. Renoir. For other details on who's who:

      http://www.phillipscollection.org/collection/boating-party

      The prominance given Caillebotte opposite a woman he was in love with in perhaps Renoir's best work speaks to the high regard he held his young friend in...and such a touching tribute.

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  5. That self-portrait is very good - I'd never heard of Caillebotte, so thanks for this post, GSL.
    The Paris street scene looks very modern and almost photographic.
    I hope you're well?

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    1. All is well here my dear Ruth, regarding my banishment I go before the parole board just before Christmas and as you well know GSL knows how to sing for his supper...now just wait til you hear him crooning for Christmas goose and figgy pudding...I'll be back there strutting like a bantam rooster before you know it.

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    2. Good luck with the Parole board. With any luck there will be clemency.... ;-)

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  6. So good of you to champion him as he tends to be forgotten out of France and art history students. I am also a fan of his own work and his character is a plus.

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    1. Naomi,
      Our Art Institute teamed up with the Grand Palais and LA Museum of Art back in 1995 for a very large Caillebotte Exhibition that was a huge hit here in every respect and the hardcover catalog, one of which I proudly own, was completely sold out by day 4. Everybody in Chicago knows Caillebotte because of 'Paris Street, Rainy Day' even if they can't pronounce or spell his name.

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  7. G you always surprise me, I can add art appreciation to your list of accomplishments! I learned something here today, in fact I've not seen that self portrait, really striking. Stay warm Darling!

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    1. I'll keep surprising you my dear Dani if you'll just be so kind to look in on me from time to time.

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  8. Loving all this art talk, GSL.
    Enjoying my visits to the Den.
    Liking more and more getting better acquainted with its very cultivated and very refined host, too.

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    1. This should be right up your alley Emily. We do cover a lot of ground here and glad some of it is to your liking.

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  9. I got to spend some time with this painting, up close and personal, during the press preview for the Met's 'Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity' in 2013. They had the most gorgeous 19th century clothes to accompany the paintings, and it was truly a stunning show, quite unique with the addition of fashion and accessories! Did you catch it when the exhibit went to Chicago? XO, Jill

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    1. Yes I did Jill and had forgotten that Paris Street was part of that. The real pleasant surprise of that show for me was all the gorgeous Tissot paintings that took my breath away!

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  10. I had no idea he was in that painting. Fascinating piece on a fascinating character.

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    1. He really was fascinating and I think underappreciated Jen...he kept Monet afloat financially for years.

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  11. Wonderful post, and wonderful story. The paragraph above the boating party picture is so evocative, there could not have been a more beautful way to start my day. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you my dear MaiTai and I do envy that you are so close to where these Impressionist masterpieces originated and now reside.

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    1. Wendy, I wasn't familiar at all with Caillebotte until moving to Chicago and I too love his story.

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  13. Yet another beautifully informative post,G! Thank you for this lovely glance into this most generous artist. You have piqued my interest to learn more about him...love it when that happens!

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    1. Thank you my dear Trudye!
      I am looking forward to that 'Judgement of Paris' book suggested above by 'une femme'

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  14. What a splendid post indeed! I've not had the good fortune of seeing either Paris Street, Rainy Day, or Luncheon of The Boating Party in the flesh but have admired pictures of both for many years. Looks like a trip to Chicago and DC is in order.

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    1. Dearest CD,
      I have been a Caillebotte fan since the major exhibition in 1995 when I found out more about the man and artist and my DC itinerary is always organized around seeing Luncheon of the Boating Party and often stay at the stately, and slightly shabby, Churchhill Hotel just so I can be within walking distance,

      We would love the opportunity to assist in your Chicago itinerary to hopefully include a rendezvous at The Red Lion or an afternoon tea,

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  15. I'm always reminded (and learn of...oops dangling participles ) great words on this blog. Must put intransigient (sorry spelling/?) into a sentence toot sweet on my blog.

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    1. Jody, I'm going to have to poach 'Donatella' = Done from you!

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