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Summary Article: Caillebotte, Gustave
From Chambers Biographical Dictionary


French painter and art collector

Born in Paris, a naval architect by profession, he began to paint from 1872. He enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, but probably attended only sporadically. In 1876 he exhibited at the Second Impressionist exhibition showing a work which was already technically accomplished and shrewdly observant, Les Raboteurs de parquet (1875, "Floor Scrapers", Musée d'Orsay, Paris). By 1876 his paintings included Déjeuner and Le Pont de l'Europe (Geneva). He also became a leading philatelist, and his income from stamps helped to purchase work from other Impressionists, Claude Monet in particular. Caillebotte's other work includes Man at his Bath (1884, National Gallery, London), once considered shocking and kept in a special room in Brussels, but now regarded as a fine example of realism. On his death, he bequeathed his collection of Impressionist pictures to the state. Thirty-eight of them were eventually accepted, and formed the nucleus of the Impressionist collection now housed in the Musée d'Orsay.

© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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