Gustave Caillebotte

Gustave CaillebotteGustave Caillebotte was a notable French painter. He was a member and patron of a group of pioneer artists known as the Impressionists. His artwork was known more for their more realistic style, probably considered the most to do so in such a manner. He was also one of the first artists who have considered some interest in photography as a new art form. His works were largely forgotten up until recently.

Early Life

Gustave was born on August 19, 1848 in Paris, France. He came from an upper class Parisian family. His father, Martial Caillebotte inherited a flourishing textile business where the family wealth came from. His mother was Celeste Daufresne, the third wife of Martial who was widowed twice previously.

Gustave initially began to paint and found interest in art while spending time at the town of Yerres, where his father bought a large property where the family began to spend their summers. But Gustave was educated as an engineer and later on earned a law degree sometime in 1868. He was also later on drafted to fight in the Franco-Prussian War.

Life in the Arts

Gustave took some interest in art once again after the war when he began visiting the studio of painter Leon Bonnat with whom Gustave started taking lessons. He eventually learned to develop his own style of painting and then proceeded to put up his own studio at his parent home. He also got into the Ecole des Beaux Arts for a short period of time.

Gustave inherited his father’s fortune sometime in 1874, providing him with financial independence. The wealth was eventually divided among his other two brothers after their mother died in 1878. It was sometime in 1874 that Gustave met and befriended other artists working outside of the French Academy.

With his wealth, he became a patron of the Impressionist painters who began to break away from the conservative and academic painters that held exhibitions in the annual Official Salon.

The Impressionists started their own exhibition from where Gustave joined in 1876, at the second of the many other Impressionist exhibitions. Caillebotte later on became a patron of the art group and later on helped funded other Impressionist exhibitions.

Artistic Style

Despite his leanings toward the group of Impressionist painters, Gustave Callebotte’s works are seen as more realistic in style, almost to a point of looking more like photographs.

The preciseness and almost calculating aspects of his artworks may be due to his engineering background. But the subject matter and the tone of the paintings are usually in line with that of his fellow Impressionists.

Due to his wealth and as an art patron, Gustave Caillebotte’s artworks were largely overwhelmed by his reputation as an avid supporter of the arts, usually contributing quite a sum of his wealth for helping artist friends hold their art exhibits.

It was only later that art historians began to look closely into his own artistic contributions. Gustave Caillebotte died of pulmonary congestion sometime in 1894 at the age of 45 while gardening in his home at Petit-Gennevilleirs.

Image Source: Wikipedia

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