Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt presents Gustave Caillebotte An Impressionist and Photography

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt presents a comprehensive exhibition featuring about fifty paintings and drawings by the French Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte on view from October 18, 2012 to January 20, 2013.


Gustave Caillebotte The Pont de l’Europe, 1876 Le Pont de l‘Europe, l’Europe Oil on canvas 125 x 180 cm © Association des Amis du Petit Palais, Genève Photography: © Studio Monique Bernaz, Genève

Consistently rounded off with one hundred and fifty outstanding photographic positions of the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century, the show conveys a clear idea of Caillebotte’s pioneering role in the development of a new way of seeing. While this extraordinary artist has already assumed his rightful place next to great Impressionists like Auguste Renoir, Édouard Manet, or Edgar Degas in France, Great Britain, and the United States, a critical examination of Caillebotte’s production is still in its early stages in Germany. Caillebotte’s oeuvre offers new, fundamental, and complementary approaches to French Impressionist painting: his radical, highly modern, and photography-related solutions very convincingly elucidate the close connection between photography and painting. Numerous of Caillebotte’s works anticipate a photographic perspective – especially in their particular angles of view and the way the images are cropped, but also in their approach to themes like movement and abstraction – that does not emerge in the medium of photography itself until later.

Gustave Caillebotte (1848 Paris – 1894 Gennevilliers) was rather known as a patron, collector, and pioneer of Impressionist art throughout his life, though he produced more than five hundred paintings, pastels, and drawings himself. Raised in the upper-middle-class milieu of Paris, he first studied law. After only little more than a year, the independent mind left the Parisian École des Beaux-Arts, where he had enrolled after, in 1874 and joined the Impressionist “partisans” around Edgar Degas, Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, and Édouard Manet. Coming into a large fortune after his father’s death, Caillebotte henceforth supported the painters of the new movement as “patron of the Impressionists.” He presented his own works at the second Impressionist exhibitions in Paris (1876) and the following six shows. In 1881, the enthusiastic sportsman retired to his summer house in Petit-Gennevilliers on the banks of the River Seine, where he, next to his activities as an artist, became one of the best yachtsmen of his day and designed more than twenty yachts. Gustave Caillebotte died from the consequences of a stroke aged forty-six on February 21, 1894. Already during his lifetime he had stipulated in his will that his important collection of Impressionist works should pass into the hands of the French government. Today, a large part of it ranks among the key assets of the Musée d’Orsay.

The exhibition has been sponsored by the Society of Friends of the Schirn Kunsthalle e. V. Additional support has been granted by the Georg und Franziska Speyer’sche Hochschulstiftung. – www.schirn.de

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