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“Paris Street, Rainy Day” by Gustave Caillebotte

"Paris Street, Rainy Day" by Gustave Caillebotte - Art Institute of Chicago

“Paris Street, Rainy Day” by Gustave Caillebotte

“Paris Street, Rainy Day” by Gustave Caillebotte is his best-known work and depicts Parisians walking in the rain through the Place de Dublin, in 1877 Paris. Caillebotte was a friend of many of the impressionist painters, and this painting is part of that tradition. However, it differs in its realism and reliance on line and not broad brush strokes. It also reflects Caillebotte’s interest in photography.

Photography influenced Caillebotte, and he made some of the figures seem out of focus, and others in sharper focus, including the features in the background, which become progressively less focused and intense. The cropping of the man to the far right, further suggests the influence of photography.

The figures in the painting may seem to have walked into the picture as if taking a snapshot of people going about their typical day. The reality is that Gustave Caillebotte spent months carefully planning the pictorial composition. The textured cobblestones dominate almost a quarter of the painting as if that was where the photo was focused.

“Paris Street, Rainy Day” by Gustave Caillebotte

2010 photograph of the Place de Dublin depicted in the painting.

The picture above of today’s Place de Dublin, Paris shows the loss of unique character with the loss of the cobblestones, which represent a lost past in this painting.

Gustave Caillebotte

Gustave Caillebotte (1848 – 1894) was a French painter and patron of the Impressionists artists. Caillebotte was born to a wealthy upper-class Parisian family. Caillebotte’s sizable allowance which allowed him to paint without the pressure to sell his work. It also allowed him to help fund Impressionist exhibitions and support his fellow artists and friends Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro among others by purchasing their works and paying the rent for their studios.

Explore Gustave Caillebotte

  • Gustave Caillebotte was born in 1848 into a wealthy family who built their fortune in textiles and real estate.
  • Caillebotte was independently wealthy. In 1873, he inherited the great fortune of his father.
  • He was known as a supporter of the arts for contributing funds to Impressionist exhibitions
  • He purchasing works by fellow artists such as Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro.
  • This collection ultimately included sixty-eight paintings by various artists: Camille Pissarro (nineteen), Claude Monet (fourteen), Pierre-Auguste Renoir (ten), Alfred Sisley (nine), Edgar Degas (seven), Paul Cézanne (five), and Édouard Manet (four).
  • Caillebotte was noted for his early interest in photography as an art form
  • Caillebotte used his wealth to fund a variety of hobbies in which he was passionate, including stamp collecting, orchid growing, yacht building, and textile design.
  • The Musée d’Orsay holds forty of Caillebotte’s own works.
  • Caillebotte is best known for his paintings of urban Paris.

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Paris Street, Rainy Day

  • Title:             Paris Street, Rainy Day
  • Artist:           Gustave Caillebotte
  • Year:             1877
  • Medium:      Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 212.2 × 276.2 cm (83.5 × 108.7 in)
  • Museum:      Art Institute of Chicago

Gustave Caillebotte

  • Name:         Gustave Caillebotte
  • Born:           1848 – Paris, France
  • Died:           1894 (aged 45) – Gennevilliers, France
  • Nationality: French
  • Movement: Realism, Impressionism
  • Notable works:

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“The very great artists attach you even more to life.”
– Gustave Caillebotte

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Photo Credit: 1) Gustave Caillebotte [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 2) By Rodney (Place de Dublin) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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