These are the 12 most famous paintings by Gustave Caillebotte, who was a French impressionistic painter who, strangely enough, painted in a very realistic manner. He was a very diverse personality, as he was practicing photography, yacht building, orchid growing, stamp collecting, textile design, and he had a Law degree and was also an engineer. Caillebotte often painted people in everyday life scenes – card or piano playing, dining, reading, or enjoying good weather at Yerres, where his family villa was.
Paris Street, Rainy Day (1877)
One of the most famous paintings by Gustave Caillebotte and also of the 19th century is titled Rue de Paris, temps de pluie in his native French. It uses bold perspective to create a portrait of the city of light, Paris on a rainy and gloomy day. The sidewalk of Rue de Turin, with a melancholic and everyday atmosphere, represents the changing milieu of 1890s Paris.
Rue Halévy, From the 6th Floor (1878)
This blue-toned painting depicts a window view of central Paris. The building on the right with two golden crowing figures is the Parisian opera house called Opéra Garnier. It was built from 1861 to 1875 at the command of Emperor, Napoleon III. Two years after the painting was done, Caillebotte moved into an apartment in the building on the right side of the painting.
Boating on the Yerres (1877)
This painting is one of the largest boating scenes that the artist finished in the 1870s. It shows Yerres, a long river in northern France, painted in a pattern of horizontal brushstrokes, with three kayak boats. The placement of the trees and river reflections provides a geometrical illusion of the curve of the river. Caillebotte was a great nature lover and had drawn inspiration from his family property in Yerres.
The Orange Trees (1878)
This oil on canvas, luminous and elegant scene, captures a modern theme of leisure activities of the French upper class. Caillebotte painted his brother Martial and their cousin Zoe wearing sophisticated clothes and relaxing in the garden of their family villa in Yerres. The observer can almost feel the warmth of the summer Sun radiating off the garden path, and this painting is a true Impressionist work.
Young Man at His Window (1876)
This urban realist painting depicts Caillebotte’s brother, René, standing on a balcony of the family home in the Rue de Miromensil in Paris. René’s dominant attitude and off-centered figure gazing upon the city, create a tense relationship between the main subject and the street scene.
Caillebotte’s Portrait de l’artiste was painted just two years before his death at the age of 45. The artist is depicted in a grey-colored atmosphere, gazing directly into the viewer’s eyes.
This painting depicts a rural scene of the late 1800s and shows two gardeners watering the crops on a summer’s day. It is another of Caillebotte’s paintings that is presenting the beauty of everyday life and the elegance of regular people.
In a Coffee Shop (1880)
The dominant figure of this Parisian painting is a man, occupying almost half of the frame while behind him, on the table is a glass of absinthe which was extremely popular at that time. In the background, a visual effect of a mirror reflects a scene that is in front of the main subject. In the mirror, we can see two men playing cards and a rack with two hooked hats. This painting is an Impressionist manifesto because of the light and reflections, its vibrancy, and its quality.
Nude Lying on a Couch (1873)
This scene, a nude female reclining on a sofa, is a classical impressionistic motif. Impressionists removed all the edges and contours of the body, focusing on color and gentle brush strokes, giving vitality to the body.
Yellow Roses in a Vase (1882)
This painting belongs to his later works. It is a classical impressionistic motif of still life. The fallen rose petals depict the decay of beauty and life.
The Yellow Fields at Gennevilliers (1884)
These plain, yellow fields belong to a group of his six landscapes from 1884. They all depict fields of Caillebotte’s property near Paris, Gennevilliers plain at the banks of the river Seine. Despite the absence of figures in this painting, contrasts of colors and thick brushstrokes show his love for perspective and vegetation.
The Floor Scrapers (1875)
The Floor Scapers is also considered to be one of the most famous paintings by Gustave Caillebotte, depicting a realistic scene of urban craftsmen busily at work. The viewer stands above three workers who are on their hands and knees, scraping the floor in an elite apartment which is today believed to be the artist’s own studio in Paris. This painting is important as it was one of the first ones to show regular, urban workers. Caillebotte did another version of this painting in 1876.
What famous paintings by Gustave Caillebotte do you think we should add to this list? Comment below.