Caillebotte Gustave

B. Paris, 1848 - d. Gennevilliers, 1894

Bouquet de Chrysanthèmes, 1893, oil on canvas Bouquet de Chrysanthèmes, 1893, oil on canvas
Gustave Caillebotte, the scion of a wealthy family, was a painter and a financial supporter of the Impressionists. He studied art in Paris under the academician Léon-Joseph Bonnat. After his work was rejected by the "Salon" jury in 1875, he joined the Impressionist group. Caillebotte had a penchant for realism and unusual space construction. In 1888, he settled in Petit Gennevillier on the Seine, where Monet lived. The two artists shared a passion for gardening and flowers. In 1893, the year before he died, Caillebotte exhibited some 26 of his flower and flower bed pictures, decorative panels, and still lifes at the Windenstein Gallery.

It was commonly agreed that Caillebotte preferred linear compositions and that he displayed a weakness in painterly brushwork. This statement is challenged by his later work, which demonstrates a sensitive handling of delicate structures and hues. Claude Monet expressed his admiration for these flower paintings: "In still life he achieved pieces which are worthy of Manet's and Renoir's greatest successes." Monet bought one of the "chrysanth?mes" and in 1896-97, shortly after Caillebotte's death, paid his tribute to his friend by painting a series of these flowers. Caillebotte supported the Impressionists and some of their shows became possible only thanks to his financial aid and activities. He bequeathed his outstanding collection of some sixty Impressionist paintings to France.