Artist Biography: Gustave Caillebotte
A concise biography of Caillebotte's life and work.
National Gallery of Art Micro Gallery
National Gallery of Art. Micro Gallery—National Gallery of Art. Online Content. Washington, D.C., 2004.
Caillebotte became an important figure in impressionist circles. In addition to his role as a painter, he promoted some of the impressionist group shows and was a patron of artists such as Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, and Paul Cézanne.
Caillebotte's painting style remained more closely tied to realism than impressionism, but he did adopt the bright colors, loose brushwork, and interest in light that united the group. His subjects domestic interiors, urban scenes, bathers, and boaters were typical of the impressionists.
Caillebotte was a lawyer who came from a wealthy family. A large inheritance in 1873 enabled him to pursue painting and gardening. Caillebotte often painted street scenes characterized by a distinctive plunging perspective and unexpected angles of vision. His large-scale urban scenes were especially praised in the press in 1877 and 1878 while those of the other impressionists were strongly criticized. After this, Caillebotte focused on boating and swimming scenes, often working at his estate near the Yerres River outside Paris.