Gustave Caillebotte’s paintings of his country home at Yerres display soft brushwork and a pastel palette typical of the Impressionists. Although closely associated with that movement, Caillebotte drew inspiration from other approaches as well, resulting in a style closer to Realism than many of his contemporaries. He aimed to paint the world as he observed it, producing works that resisted theatricality in favor of a more grounded sense of reality. His noteworthy urban scenes employ flatter colors and dramatic perspectives inspired by Japanese wood block prints. One such example, created in the same year as the present work, is one of his best-known paintings, Paris Street; Rainy Day at the Art Institute of Chicago.
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.