In my June 7 post, I wrote about Gustave Caillebotte, which was basically an opportunity for me to rant about one of my favorites. Then during a recent trip to the Wallraf-Richardz Museum in Cologne, Germany, I was excited to see no less than nine Caillebotte paintings, more than I have seen in any single collection, except the Musee D’Orsay or a retrospective exhibition, such as the one held by the Brooklyn Museum last year.
In fact, a couple of these may have been included in that show, particularly Drying Clothes at the Seine, (1892) which is a symphony of diagonal, slashing brushwork and Sailing Boat at the Seine near Argenteuil (1893), but as my copy of the exhibition catalogue is languishing in my sister’s garage since my move to Europe I can’t confirm my memory.
Classically Caillebotte are the forced receding angles and sharp geometry of the fields in The Plain of Gennevilliers, Yellow Fields, (1884) and Hills Near Columbes (1884), and even in the kooky little Boats and Shed on the Banks of the Seine (1891) with its shed about to slip into the river.
The way the river and fields recede away from the viewer in these paintings is Caillebotte resolving some of the same spatial issues he mastered in his larger, earlier landscapes like Rainy Day – Paris, at The Art Institute of Chicago®, and Le Pont de l’Europe at the Petit Palais in Geneva (both featured in my previous post).
But right up there is the little canvas, Garden in Trouville (1882): such a jumble of color and lively brushwork that the painter has almost left the realm of impressionism, heading dangerously close to abstracting the summer garden - paving the way for artists of the next generation to do just that.
These paintings are not included in the Caillebotte.org online collection (though it claims to be comprehensive) and are not in the online images on the museum’s website, so I thought I’d give my fellow Caillebotte fans a little something special by posting these myself, and if you're in Cologne, don't miss them. Enjoy!