Gustave Caillebotte - Artist and Collector
Artist Gustave Caillebotte was born on August 19, 1848 in Paris, France to a wealthy family. He studied to be an engineer and also received a law degree in 1868. In 1870, Caillebotte was drafted to fight in the Franco-Prussian War.
After the war, Caillebotte studied art with Leon Bonnat. He also attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1873 where he became friends with artists Degas and de Nittis.
After his father died, Caillebotte inherited a lot of money which he used to help fund the Impressionist exhibitions in Paris. He also bought art from his fellow artists. Caillebotte displayed eight of his paintings at the second Impressionist exhibition in 1876. While he is classed as an Impressionist, Caillebotte seems to move towards realism.
In later years, Caillebotte took an interest in yacht racing. He also became an avid gardener who asked Monet for his advice and help. He also took an interest in the new art of photography.
Caillebotte never married but when he died he left an annuity to Charlotte Berthier with whom he had a long-term friendship.
When Caillebotte died he left his art collection to the French government. This collection contained several works by his Impressionist friends such as Degas, Monet, Renoir. He has stipulated that the paintings be displayed in Luxembourg Palace and the Louvre but the government refused to take them all. They took about half of his large collection and the other half was purchased by Albert C. Barnes.
Gustave Caillebotte died on February 21, 1894.
Caillebotte’s name is another of those Impressionist artists whose name seems to have been overshadowed by artists such as Renoir and Monet. If it hadn’t been for Caillebotte, many of these artists might not be as well known as they are. By purchasing the art of his friends he made it possible for many of them to continue painting.