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Gustave Caillebotte and Théodore Duret...

The fourth exhibition of the Impressionists took place from April 10 to May 11, 1879.

In a letter dated April 17 and addressed to the critic and writer Théodore Duret, Gustave Caillebotte thanks him for his loyalty and for the article he wrote on the paintings on display.

“Sir, I want to thank you for your article this morning. Especially since you are the only one this year who has defended us, and you have done so very bluntly. The press may have recognized that the struggle would be a long one, for those who had supported us up to now have disappeared or deserted us. Moreover, we have no less perseverance, just as you have had all the more courage. Receive the assurance of my best feelings.

G Caillebotte"

Lettre de Gustave Caillebotte à Théodore Duret. 1879. Première page. BNF cartons 7 Autographes.
Lettre de Gustave Caillebotte à Théodore Duret. 1879. Première page. BNF cartons 7 Autographes.

The painter nevertheless adds a little postscript, a sort of friendly Parthian arrow:

" P.S. I very much regret that you forgot Miss Cassatt and a word for the absentees this year: Cézanne, Renoir, Sisley and Mlle Morisot.

Thank you all the same. GC"

Lettre de Gustave Caillebotte à Théodore Duret. 1879. Deuxième page. BNF cartons 7 Autographes.
Lettre de Gustave Caillebotte à Théodore Duret. 1879. Deuxième page. BNF cartons 7 Autographes.

It was Gustave Caillebotte, Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro who wanted to organize this exhibition while other artists of the movement are not really up for it. Claude Monet took refuge with the Hoschedé family in Vétheuil where he struggles between financial worries and the illness of his wife Camille, Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley decline and prefer to try to exhibit at the official salon.

To make matters worse, the memory of the auction, the previous year, of the 138 works from the collection of Ernest Hoschedé is in the memories, with its ridiculous sale prices, like "Impression soleil levant ", sold for 210 francs.

Désirée-François Laugée. Retour de moisson. Collection particulière.
Claude Monet. Un jardin à Sainte-Adresse. 1867.

Thanks to the friendly pressure of Gustave Caillebotte, Claude Monet finally agreed to exhibit. It will present 29 paintings made between 1867 and 1878, including the famous "Garden at Sainte-Adresse".

Première page du catalogue de l'exposition de 1879. BNF Département réserve des livres rares.
Première page du catalogue de l'exposition de 1879. BNF Département réserve des livres rares.

Finally, 15 artists will exhibit at 28 avenue de l'Opéra, in Paris, in a place that will be demolished the following year to make way for a building that now houses banking establishments. The 1879 exhibition will be a success, with more than 16,000 visitors and a nice profit redistributed to the participants.

Édouard Manet. Théodore Duret. 1868. Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris
Édouard Manet. Théodore Duret. 1868. Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris

Théodore Duret, friend of Gustave Courbet and Édouard Manet who made a portrait of him, wrote in 1906 a History of the Impressionists which is still authoritative.


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