Thursday, August 13, 2015

Caillebotte, The Quiet Impressionist

Gustave Caillebotte


While spending this past weekend in DC, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that an exhibition of Impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte was showing at the National Gallery of Art.  
What a fantastic find!  


We all know Degas, Renoir, Monet, and Sisley; but, the lesser known, quiet, somewhat lost Impressionist, Caillebotte, is my favorite amongst this impressive list. 


Why? Aside from gay suggestions in the art and of the artist, aside form the bold use of unmixed colors, a subdued palate -- both beautiful and somewhat melancholic -- what I enjoy most about Caillebotte is that the viewer gets the sense of having accidentally walked into someone's very private moment, while the subject(s) remain unaware. 


Stolen moments -- Caillebotte invites us be an invisible observer to someone's emotional vulnerability.     


Daringly, and dauntingly, he makes us feel like we stepped into a painting, into someone's little world, and sometimes uncomfortably up-close.  


When we look at Caillebotte, we wonder what just happened, what went wrong?  What did we just stumble upon?


There is so much narrative in each work, maybe it's a little off, but just brilliant nonetheless, and ahead of its time...  



Another reason that Caillebotte is worth a look -- owing to his family's wealthy background in textiles, he not only participated in the making of Impressionist art (without having the stress of needing to make it sellable), but he was also an early supporter, purchasing numerous pieces from his fellow painters, and helping to finance their exhibitions.  He was a major patron of the group, surging the movement forward.  Ostensibly, he influenced Impressionism on all levels.



Just look at those colors --  vivid, yet subdued, traditional yet modern -- an entire room's schematic can be designed around that gunmetal grey topcoat (above).


To dovetail on my last post, 13 Things to do in DC now, if you are in our nation's capital, take an hour or two to see the works of this rarely exhibited and relatively unknown Impressionist at the National Gallery of Art.  It is there until October 4th, and the admission is free!




I think you are going to like it! 


Seems that spending time at the museum helps careers. Here is an interesting article, arguing that looking at art helps to make better doctors: