Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lucky Lilies and Gustave Caillebotte

On the 1st of May there is a tradition here in France - you buy Lily of the Valley as a good luck charm to keep in your home. These delicate little blooms are a perfect way to commemorate my Springtime in Paris, so I immortalized them.

Today I went to the open air market at the end of my street. It is such a sensory experience to see and small the variety of colors and aromas. Raw seafood and shellfish sit next to artisanale cheeses, bouquets of colorful flowers and handmade linen clothing. (My 'fromagier' friend and I below)

On Sunday, I went to the Jaquemart Andre Museum at the recommendation of my dear former painting professor and fellow woman artist Betty Shelton. This is one of Paris' little hidden jewels - a private collection housed in an elegant 19th century home. The featured exhibition there now is "The Caillebotte Brothers' Private World, Painter and Photographer". It features the works of the 19th century impressionist painter Gustave Caillebotte, and his lesser known brothers Martial and Alfred Caillebotte who photographed the same subject matter: life in early modern Paris. I will focus mainly on Gustave's paintings, as I am a painter and relate to them more closely. These energetic and honest paintings are a window into Parisian bourgeois life at a time when so many rapid changes were taking place.

In 'Second Empire Paris', Baron Haussmann widened boulevards for increased traffic and public festivities, railroads were expanding and a new industrialized, progressive Paris was being constructed. In these paintings, one can sense the excitement of this time, but also the alienation that accompanied it.

Being of prominent bourgeois social class himself, the Caillebotte brothers also depicted the leisure activities of summers in the country.

They also used their wealth to collect and support the art of many of their impressionist contemporaries, sustaining their careers. Talented, generous, gentlemen of culture - the Caillebotte brothers are worthy of a distinguished place in art history.

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Location:Paris, France

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