top of page

The incredible precision of Gustave...

During my conference on the Caillebotte brothers, and in the documentary that I devote to it on my Youtube channel, I mention an amazing painting by Gustave Caillebotte: "Self-portrait at the easel". This canvas, painted in 1880 in the studio of the apartment that the artist occupied at 31 boulevard Hausmann in Paris with his brother Martial, includes a surprising detail...

Gustave Caillebotte. Autoportrait au Chevalet. 1880. Collection particulière.
Gustave Caillebotte. Autoportrait au Chevalet. 1880. Collection particulière.

Gustave depicts himself rather curiously from the front, completely turned towards the viewer, while continuing to paint a canvas that he is not looking at.

Portrait of Richard Gallo, Gustave Caillebotte, 1881 - Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Portrait of Richard Gallo, Gustave Caillebotte, 1881 - Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art


In the back, sitting on the sofa with his legs bent, his friend Richard Gallo, journalist at the "Constitutionnel", who lived not far from the Caillebotte brothers, at 40 rue du Rocher. Gustave painted it many times, and since we are talking about a sofa, here it is, on a canvas from 1881, reading "le Figaro".





But the detail that makes this painting a masterpiece of precision is Auguste Renoir's painting "Bal du Moulin de la Galette", which can be seen above the sofa. It dates from 1876, and Gustave stored it in his studio, along with other paintings by his Impressionist friends.

Auguste Renoir Bal du moulin de la Galette En 1876 Huile sur toile H. 131,5 ; L. 176,5 cm. Legs Gustave Caillebotte, 1894 © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt
Auguste Renoir Bal du moulin de la Galette En 1876 Huile sur toile H. 131,5 ; L. 176,5 cm. Legs Gustave Caillebotte, 1894 © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt

When we compare it to the original above, we naturally see that it is upside down, since Gustave Caillebotte painted his own reflection in a mirror... But what is really surprising, and which attests to the extreme meticulousness of the artist, it is that when the painting of Renoir is superimposed on its representation by Caillebotte, all the dimensions are exact!!!

In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the French 19th century...



Comments


bottom of page