Gustave Caillebotte (1848–1894), the son of a wealthy businessman, is perhaps best known as the painter who organized and funded several of the groundbreaking exhibitions of the Impressionist painters, collected their works, and ensured the Impressionists’ presence in the French national museums by bequeathing his own personal collection. Trained at the École des Beaux-Arts and sharing artistic sympathies with his renegade friends, Caillebotte painted a series of extraordinary pictures inspired by the look and feel of modern Paris that also grappled with his own place in the Parisian art scene.
Gustave Caillebotte – Painting the Paris of Naturalism, 1872–1887 is the first book to study the life and artistic development of this painter in depth and in the context of the urban life and upper-class Paris that shaped the man and his work. Michael Marrinan’s ambitious study draws upon new documents and establishes compelling connections between Caillebotte’s painting and literature, commerce, and technology. It offers new ways of thinking about Paris and its changing development in the nineteenth century, exploring the cultural context of Parisian bachelor life and revealing layers of meaning in upscale privilege ranging from haute cuisine to sport and relaxation. Marrinan has written what is sure to be a central text for the study of nineteenth-century art and culture.