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"Gustave Caillebotte - The Painter's Eye," at the National Gallery Jun 28 - Oct 4, 2015


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Gustave Caillebotte was a second tier French Impressionist artist usually written off as the well-to-do financier and collector of his more famous impressionist friends' art work - and indeed he played an important role in underwriting and producing several impressionist exhibitions.  During his lifetime he acquired more than 70 pieces of impressionist work and bequeathed his collection to the state, which became the cornerstone of impressionist art in French national museums.

The National Gallery's show is part of a recent "rediscovery" of his work and features his two best known pieces -  The Floor Scrapers and Paris Street; Rainy Day

His paintings of Paris life are indeed quite lovely, his work of the French country life certainly not as iconic as other Impressionists, and his "food porn" paintings of shop windows downright dreadful.

All-in-all The Painter's Eye is a compact show and certainly worth visiting to see The Floor Scrapers and Paris Street.

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I took in this exhibit on Saturday, and really loved it. I didn't care for the food pictures either, and some of the landscapes weren't very compelling. But there was so much else to like. In addition to the Paris street scenes for which Caillebotte is probably best remembered, there were many peopled interior scenes that were beautiful, and some great portraits. The boating pictures were lovely. And the gardens and buildings of the country estate where he spent the last years of his very brief life were superbly painted. Among the most striking features of his work are the unexpected angles where he often places the viewer's eye, and the surprisingly monumental scale of some of the canvases. The "Paris Street" picture is enormous.

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