FORT WORTH, TX.-
This fall, the Kimbell Art Museum
hosts 50 of the most important and beloved paintings of Paris and its environs by Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte (18481894). This critically acclaimed exhibition is the first major U.S. retrospective of the artist's work in 20 years and is on view in the Renzo Piano Pavilion from November 8, 2015, through February 14, 2016. The exhibition offers visitors a better understanding of Caillebotte's artistic character, his innovation and the complexity of his contribution to vanguard painting in France.
"Although Caillebotte's name may be unfamiliar to many, his works are among the most recognizable in the Impressionist movement," commented Eric M. Lee, director of the Kimbell Art Museum. "This exhibition intimately explores the multifaceted genius that is Caillebotte. The lovers of Impressionism who come to this show will never, ever, forget who Caillebotte is."
From the moment of his debut with the Impressionists, Caillebotte (pronounced Ky-Bot) distinguished himself as one of the movement's most original artists. His unique visionhis edgewas honed on the tension that marked his dynamic relationship with his friends and colleagues. And his greatest workpaintings such as the Kimbell's renowned On the Pont de l'Europeemerged when, being neither Degas nor Monet, he steered a course between the two. Making his debut with the Impressionists by showing strange, even arresting subject mattermen refinishing floors or an apparently dysfunctional family at the dinner tableCaillebotte consistently presented paintings that looked unlike any other artist's works.
Caillebotte's aesthetic speaks directly to modern urbanites, particularly in the large-scale paintings of city streets that record the radically renovated Paris of the 1860s and 1870s. Recent restoration of the artist's best-known work, The Art Institute of Chicago's Paris Street; Rainy Day, has revealed more texture and detail and thus has heightened interest in the entire oeuvre of this still relatively unknown artist.
Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter's Eye explores the inquisitive, experimental, almost fearless vision that inspired Caillebotte's masterworks. More than 50 of his strongest paintings illustrate the fertile period from 1875 to 1885 when he was most closely allied with the Impressionists. Among the artist's wide range of subjects are scenes of daily life in Parisian apartments and on the capital's busy streets; portraits of friends and family, marked by a strong sense of individual character; remarkable still lifes, celebrating foodstuffs as consumer goods available to a privileged class of buyers; and glorious, sunlit scenes of suburban leisureof flower gardens, riverside strollers, rowers, and sailors. Criticizedand praisedfor his particular style, which blended remarkable subjects and radical points of view with an application of paint that is more controlled and even more "realistic" than his colleagues in the movement, this highly skilled, somewhat eccentric artist was a pioneer in adopting the angled perspective of a modern optical devices to compose his scenes, and his effects are often described as arresting, even cinematic.
"Unlike his friends Monet, Degas, and Renoir, Caillebotte is hard to see in American museums," said exhibition co-curator George T.M. Shackelford, the Kimbell's deputy director. "There's nowhere you can go and see more than a couple of his paintings at a time. So the opportunity to see so many of his greatest works at onceand more than 60% of the works we're showing come from private collectorsis one that's not to be missed. It's unlikely to happen again for another generation."
The exhibition will offers critical insights into the culture that produced the artisthe grew up a wealthy man in the destruction/construction zone of a city undergoing luxurious modernization. At the same time, the exhibition's organizers delve into Caillebotte's inspirations, literary and social milieu, identity and critical reception. It will not only bring the painter into sharper focusdeepening our understanding of the full history of Impressionismbut also position him more firmly within the pantheon of French avant-garde art.
Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter's Eye is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth.
The exhibition is curated by George T.M. Shackelford, deputy director, Kimbell Art Museum, and Mary Morton, curator and head of French paintings, National Gallery of Art.