Monday, January 4, 2021

Winter Comes to Cities Too --- Day 9/258

Walk: Hood  ( after needed Rain 😊)

Distance: 3 miles, Yoga

Gustave Caillebotte, Rooftops in the Snow, 1878, 32" x 26," o/c Musée d’Orsay, Paris.


Landscapes were not a well regarded art genre in 1878.  Land was where people toiled from pre-dawn often to late into dark.  It was the unpredictable, difficult, often dangerous source of existence, not a subject of contemplation or reverie.  And, if landscapes were anything, they were rural - especially snow scenes. 

So you can imagine how modern this urban snow scene appeared to the viewing public when Gustave Caillebotte, presented it at the fourth Impressionist Exhibition. So modern in fact that there is little record of comment or critical review of it.  Ciwt has the sense people just kind of walked on by.  They did like and stop before his portraits and boating scenes (for good reason!). 

Skiffs on the Yerres, 1877

But the main parts of  Haussmann's vast renovation of Paris  (1853-1870) were only recently completed.  The Parisians had been subjected to decades of dislocation, demolition, massive inconvenience and turmoil.  It is understandable that few beyond Caillebotte might have embraced the new visuals, the steep architecture, the wide boulevards, the parks, the doubling of the city's size.  

But Caillebotte was clearly captivated with Paris's look and enthusiastically turned his attention to how the light, weather and seasons affected the atmosphere and human activities of this new urban landscape.  In the process he created some of the most thrilling and admired cityscapes in art history.

Paris Street, Rainy Day, 1877

The Floor Scrapers, 1875

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