Gustave Caillebotte Analysis

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Gustave Caillebotte’s Exploration of the Feminine Domestic Interior Gustave Caillebotte became independently wealthy as a young man, allowing him to be a painter without the typical financial restraints experienced by other artists. Due to his privileged circumstances, the subject matter of his paintings would seem more likely to be social scenes of refinement and wealth; yet, while most of his subjects certainly could be categorized within the middle to upper classes, they do not depict the glamour of the affluent life. Rather, they frequently convey his interest in portraying the plights of individuals adjusting to the negative effects of modernization, such as the increase in loneliness, isolation, and boredom. Many of his paintings take…show more content…
Their matter-of-fact depictions of scenes of everyday life, affording glimpses of reality, echo those of Courbet. The painterly style of Caillebotte that is especially evident in Woman Seated on a Red-Flowered Sofa is reminiscent of Manet since the brushstrokes are visible, but clear lines and edges are still apparent. This is not the only aspect where Caillebotte’s art tends to look to the past, and it is this blend of traditional and more progressive stylistic elements often found in his art that keeps it from being so blatantly…show more content…
Caillebotte merely captures what a woman’s toilette would actually consist of, rather than focusing on the physical and aesthetic appeal of the woman. Unlike the sensualized images of la toilette by Degas and Renoir, Caillebotte evades such trappings of the male gaze and depicts woman in much the same way as his female contemporaries, Morisot and Cassatt. Caillebotte is the antithesis of Zola’s description of painters like Manet who were ‘analytic,’ viewing the subject (in this case, woman) ‘as a pretext to paint’ – nothing more. There is certainly an aspect of Caillebotte’s painting that is ‘analytic,’ but it is to serve more than a superficial rendering of the visual. There is an attention to detail and being true to life, but it does not belittle the woman at all; indeed, though it is through an objective lens, it is an altogether delicate treatment of the subject. Absent from this painting is the objectification that often pervades portrayals of women in Impressionist art. It is here, though, that the comparison between Caillebotte, Morisot, and Cassatt is especially relevant, for there are observable parallels that may be seen, especially in the blunt realism with which this type of scene is treated, especially in its study of psychological
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