Gustave Caillebotte in his greenhouse at Petit Gennevilliers, 1892
1877 would prove to be a breakthrough time for the Caillebotte, as he would paint perhaps his best known work, “Paris Street; Rainy Day” (held by the Art Institute of Chicago) that same year.
Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894), “L’Yerres, effet de pluie”, 1875, 31.6 × 23.3 in., oil on canvas, Indiana University Art Museum, Permanent Collection
Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894), “The Orange Trees”, 1878, 61 x 46 in., oil on canvas, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, permanent collection
Claude Monet (1840-1926), “Saules au bord de l’Yerres”, 1876, oil on canvas, 21 3/8 x 25 7/8 in., Sold At Christie’s Impressionist and Modern art evening sale 2017
Blue Irises were a favorite flower of both Caillebotte and Monet,, depicted in the present work and this image: Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894), “Iris bleus Jardin du Petit Gennevilliers”, c. 1892, Oil on canvas, 21.7 × 18.25 in., Art Gallery of Ontario, Permanent collection
Blue Irises were a favorite flower of both Caillebotte and Monet, depicted in the present work and this image: Claude Monet (1840-1926), “Iris mauves”, 1914-1917, oil on canvas, 78 7/8 x 39 1/2 in., Sold at Christie’s 2015 Impressionist & Modern Evening Sale
Gustave Caillebotte was integral to the development of Impressionism, but is perhaps its least well-known celebrity. Caillebotte was largely responsible for the success of Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley and especially Claude Monet. He was able to champion the Impressionists due to a sizeable family inheritance which allowed him to pursue his passions. This luxury was a detriment to commercial success during his lifetime, as his endeavors in painting were often gifted and not sold out of financial need. He died at the age of 45, leaving many art historians to wonder what may have come from another few decades of his development.
Painted in 1877, Vue du Jardin de l’Artiste et de la Vallée de Yerres gives us valuable insight into Caillebotte’s impressionistic development and the genesis of his intimate friendship with Monet. Created one year after Caillebotte’s debut at the Salon in Paris, the scene is the artist’s garden at the family estate at Yerres, a river village south of the city. It was here Caillebotte would experiment with a more impressionistic stroke than we see in many of his more precise figural or city scenes, perhaps meant to convey bucolic serenity. This painting was originally gifted to Mary Cassatt by the artist and remained in her family for almost 70 years.
We know Caillebotte was acquainted with Monet at this time, having purchased three of his paintings in 1876. It is widely held that at Yerres the friendship between Monet and Caillebotte deepened meaningfully. Both avid gardeners and painters of flowers, their influence on one another is clear in this scene. After this point in 1877, Caillebotte would become a fundamental advocate for Monet’s success, and his sponsorship would even go as far as to pay for Monet’s studio rent at one time. Caillebotte’s paintings are being re-discovered and celebrated in exhibitions such as the 2016 show “Caillebotte: Painter & Gardener” at Thyssen-Bornesmisza Museo Nacional in Madrid, and “Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter’s Eye” at the National Gallery of Art in DC in 2015. His work is held in permanent museum collections worldwide including The Met; MFA Boston; The Louvre and the Museé d’Orsay in Paris.
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ProvenanceMary Cassatt, Chateau de Beaufresne, Mesnil-Theribus, until 1926
Private Collection, by descent
Sale at Chateau de Monneville 1946
Jean and Francois Ryaux, France
Collection of David Schaff, Washington
Sotheby’s NY November 11, 1987, no. 9 Sale, Sotheby’s NY May 18 1990, no. 317
Private Collection, Canada, 1990
LiteratureP. Wittmer, Caillebotte au jardin. La période d’Yerres (1860-1879), Saint-Rémy-en-l’Eau, Edition d’Art Monelle Hayot, 1990, illustrated pg. 65
M. Berhau...More...t, Gustave Caillebotte, Catalogue Raisonné des peintures et pastels, Paris, 1994, no. 82, illustrated pg. 103
Caillebotte did not only contribute his painting to the Impressionist movement, but also became a crucial benefactor upon receiving a sizable inheritance. He helped to fund exhibitions, purchased works for his own collection, and even paid rent for Claude Monet’s studio.
This canvas from 1877 belonged to the personal collection of American Impressionist Mary Cassatt until her death in 1926. Here, Caillebotte’s delicate paint handling compliments his measured use of color. Naturalistic hues of the artist’s garden and the valley beyond – a bed of cool green and blue that divide the canvas into contrasting swaths of heavy and light tones – underscore the details touched by light.