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Paris  Street on a Rainy Day (1877)

Gustave Caillebotte (1848 –1894) was  a French painter, who exposed with the Impressionists,  although he painted in a much more realistic manner.  Caillebotte was noted  for his early interest in photography as an art form.

In  1873, Caillebotte began to seriously study painting, developing an accomplished  style. around 1874, he met and befriended several impressionist artists and  attended their first exhibition in 1874.

The  "Impressionists" had broken away from the academic painters showing in the  annual Salons. Caillebotte made his debut in the second Impressionist exhibition  in 1876 showing eight paintings, including the Floor-scrapers (1875), his earliest  masterpiece,  depicting  laborers preparing a wooden floor, The painting  was  considered "vulgar" by some critics and was rejected by the Salon of 1875. At  the time, the art establishment only deemed rustic peasants or farmers as  acceptable subjects from the working class.

Although  strongly influenced by the Impressionist, Caillebotte's style belongs to the  School of Realism. He  aimed to paint reality as it existed and as he saw it,  

Caillebotte  painted many domestic and familial scenes, interiors, and portraits. His country  scenes focus on pleasure boating as well as fishing and swimming, and domestic  scenes around his country home.
Caillebotte  is best known for his paintings of Paris scenes, such as ''Le Pont de L'Europe'' (1876), and  ''Paris Street on a Rainy Day''  (1877).

Caillebotte's  still-life paintings focus primarily on food, some at a table ready to be eaten  and some ready to be purchased, as in a series of paintings he made of meat at a  butcher shop. He painted a few nudes, most notably Nude on a Couch (1882),
For  many years, Caillebotte's reputation as a painter was superseded by his  reputation as a patron of the arts. Seventy years after his death, however, art  historians began reevaluating his artistic contributions.

His  art was largely forgotten until the 1950s, when his descendents began selling  the family collection. In 1964, The Art Institute of Chicago acquired ''Paris Street; Rainy Day'', spurring  American interest in the artist.

Caillebotte's  sizable allowance, along with the inheritance he received after the death of his  father in 1874 and his mother in 1878, 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 (including Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir,  and Camille Pissarro among others) by purchasing their works and, at least in  the case of Monet, paying the rent for their studios.

Caillebotte  ceased showing his work at age 34 and devoted himself to gardening and to  building and racing yachts. Caillebotte's painting career slowed dramatically in  the early 1890s, when he stopped making large canvases. He died of pulmonary  congestion in 1894 at age 45, and was interred at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in  Paris.

Gustave Caillebotte (1848 –1894)

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