Gustave Caillebotte, The House Painters, 1877.

From the Sea to the City, the Return of Gustave Caillebotte

Gustave Caillebotte, Oarsmen Rowing on the Yerres, 1877.

Gustave Caillebotte, The Seine and the Railroad Bridge at Argenteuil, 1885 or 1887.

Gustave Caillebotte, Factories in Argenteuil, 1888.

Gustave Caillebotte, A Traffic Island, Boulevard Haussmann, 1880.

Gustave Caillebotte, The Floor Scrapers, 1876.


Brooklyn Museum of Art
200 Eastern Parkway
Gustave Caillebotte:
Impressionist Paintings
from Paris to the Sea

March 27, 2009-July 5, 2009

The exhibition, The first major showing of the work of the French Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894) to be presented in New York in more than 30 years, presents the artist's well-known Parisian cityscapes alongside his painted scenes of outdoor life on the coast of Normandy and in the rural villages of Yerres and Petit Gennevilliers, where he and his family maintained estates. The exhibition will explore for the first time how these paintings express Caillebotte's passion for subjects in which water plays a central role--as an enigmatic magical element reflecting its surroundings; as an essential atmospheric ingredient; and as a scene for sporting activities. Caillebotte approached motifs with the eye and hand of an accomplished rower, yachtsman, engineer.

While The Floor Scrapers (1875), The Pont de l'Europe (sketch; 1876), and House Painters (1877) reveal the artist's fascination with Parisian subject matter — from the streets of the French capital to the labors of a growing urban working class — Skiffs on the Yerres (1877) demonstrates the artist's interest in light, water, and reflection (principal ingredients of Impressionism), as well as the physical activity and camaraderie of the boaters. Regattas at Villers (1880) captures the atmosphere Caillebotte experienced as a painter and as an avid competitive sailor. Two paintings from the Brooklyn Museum's collection, The Seine and the Railway Bridge at Argenteuil (1885-87) and Apple Tree in Bloom (circa 1885), disclose the artist's interest in the juxtaposition of the built and natural worlds. The exhibition brings these works together with approximately thirty other paintings — primarily from private collections, where most of Caillebotte's works are located, and from international museums — along with drawings, photographs, and models for the construction of the sailboats he owned and designed.

Born into a family of wealth and privilege, Caillebotte was trained as a lawyer and engineer. Following his military service during the Franco-Prussian War, he studied painting at the studio of the academic artist Léon Bonnat. Despite this traditional artistic training, Caillebotte embraced more innovative idioms and exhibited alongside the Impressionists at their groundbreaking exhibitions of the 1870s and 1880s. A key member of the Impressionist circle, he was also a patron of the arts and supported his colleagues and friends financially and collected an impressive body of works by such artists as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Alfred Sisley, and Camille Pissarro.

Gustave Caillebotte, Roses in the Garden at Petit Gennevilliers, 1886.

Gustave Caillebotte, Boats Moored on the Seine, 1892.

Gustave Caillebotte, Apple Tree in Bloom, ca. 1885.

Gustave Caillebotte, Cliff in Normandy, 1880.

Gustave Caillebotte, Trouville, Touques Valley, 1881,