The Caillebotte brothers have returned to Paris at the Jacquemart-André Museum. Until July 11, 2011 the paintings of Gustave and the photography of Martial will take the visitor into their artistic and intimate universe. They direct the viewer on a journey into a world of the bourgeoisie with their family and country home as the models. They share the intimacy of their personal life in the garden, life inside the home, and boating along the wide and narrow rivers.
The two brothers also share a look into a Paris in transition. While Gustave’s view from balconies overlook trees, roundabouts, and strollers along the boulevards. His brother, Martial, shows us horses and omnibuses, accidents, and ladders, The ladders are a reference to the building construction, modernity and renovations going on in Paris. Photography captures Sacre-Coeur is in its infancy, the horse in an accident, and light bulbs already needing changing.
I enjoyed a bit of mystery at the exhibit, solved with the audio guide. Why does the man wear a top hat while rowing the boat in “Canotier au chapeau haut de forme” instead of a common canotier/boater? Why are the sailboats so close to each other in “Régates à Argenteuil”?
My friend, Christine, who accompanied me on this visit, saw her own family in the country photos, the boys with long hair and clad in dresses; the flowers and stones of the garden, the photos of great aunts and grandmothers dressed in black. Martial’s photos capture a popular and accepted life style outside of Paris duplicated by many others in other country homes.
The family country home for the Caillebotte family was in Yerres with a river of the same name flowing nearby. The painting, “Portraits à la campagne” presents a warm, sunny summer afternoon. Women of the nineteenth century bourgeoisie doing what women typically did: read, sew and embroider. While a cousin, a friend of the family and an aunt busy their hands, the mother of Gustave Caillebotte, Madame Martial Caillebotte (Céleste Daufresne – 57 years of age) is deep in reading.
Édouard André moved into his home on Boulevard Haussmann in 1875. Gustave Caillebotte’s painting “Les Raboteurs de parquet” (The Floor Scrapers) was refused at the Paris Salon that same year. My introduction to Gustave Caillebotte was in Chicago in the early 1990s and his 1877 painting, “La Place de l’Europe, temps de pluie” (Paris Steet, Rainy Day). My next major introduction to Caillebotte was actually seeing the floor scrapers at the Grand Palais in 1994. That painting left an impression and left me bewildered about French art history. At least three times, the French art authorities rejected his work.
At the end of our visit, Christine and I sat outside the museum on a green bench among the flowers, in the shade, pebbles at our feet and talked after lunch. I could almost imagine that the museum was my country home (a bit of a palace). As we enjoyed the sunny weather on the opening day of the exhibition, we shared viewpoints as perhaps women of the nineteenth century would have done at the opening of an exhibition in their era.
Ways to enjoy the exhibit
Application for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch
Go to the iTunes store and type in Caillebotte and choose either the HD or the regular version. The guide, available in French and English, presents a video of the exhibition, complete introduction, and an audio commentary of a selection of the works. Pretend you are there while being hundreds of miles away.
Audio guide available in French and English (buy with your ticket 3.50 euros and pick up inside the museum). The audio guide comes with a magnifying bookmark souvenir. You can get up close to the photographs for a look at all of the detail.
The pocket-size guide book in French (two euros) is a general written and visual presentation and commentary on the exhibition.
Bringing children along, visit Jacquemart-André’s children page.
158, boulevard Haussmann 75008 Paris
Telephone: 01 45 62 11 59
The museum is located 400 m from la place Charles de Gaulle-Étoile.
Metro: 9 and 13 (Saint-Augustin, Miromesnil or Saint-Philippe du Roule)
RER A (Charles de Gaulle-Étoile)
Bus : 22, 28, 43, 52, 54, 80, 83, 84, 93
The museum is not accessible
Canotier au chapeau haut de forme
1877-1878, huile sur toile, 90 x 117 cm, collection particulière
Courtesy Comité Caillebotte, Paris
Portraits à la campagne
1876, huile sur toile, 98,5 x 111 cm
Collection du Musée Baron Gérard, Bayeux
© Musée Baron Gérard, Bayeux
La descente d’un réverbère (Pont de la Concorde) – street lamp
Décembre 1891, tirage photographique, 14,5 x 10,5 cm
Collection particulière © D.R.
Jean et Geneviève Caillebotte léchant des cuillères autourd’une marmite dans le jardin de Montgeron
Tirage photographique, 11,5 x 14 cm, collection particulière © D.R.
© 2011 Colleensparis.com
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