Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter’s Eye

At the National Gallery of Art reception for Caillebotte exhibition.

This is the last week to see Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter’s Eye at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. If you love Paris, don’t miss this one. It closes October 4th.

Fifty
paintings—shades and shapes and inventive perspectives of nudes, river scenes,
still-lifes, landscapes, city scapes, and interiors—all draw you in for deeper
reflection.

If
Caillebotte’s name is unfamiliar, that’s because he didn’t need to make money
from his work. His family was wealthy so he often supported artists, amassing
works of Cezanne, Renoir, Degas, Monet and others. But he was a talented artist
whose most famous painting (and museum store often reproduced image) in the USA
is his “Paris on a Rainy Day,” 1877, (see below) from The Art Institute of Chicago but on
loan for this exhibit. (And was my favorite umbrella underside image until it
wore out. Alas, the museum store no longer makes the large size umbrella, just
the mini version.) It’s a moody gem. You can feel the wet cobblestones of
Parisian boulevards.

In
outdoor scenes there’s the impression of walking over bridges beside
well-heeled ladies and gents from the 19th century. Inside, the intimate
connection is as strong. Gaze at “Floor Scrappers,” 1875, now in the collection
of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. It’s a gritty look at laborers in action, but
during the second Impressionist Salon of 1876—having been rejected from the
1875 Academy of Fine Arts
Salon—Caillebotte offended critics by his shirtless workers.

Considered
an Impressionist, Caillebotte had a modernist sensibility, and his inspiration
seems to come more from photography. His cropped close-ups, odd angles, and
altered perspective all mesh with a photographer’s eye. Two of my favorites: Young Man Playing the Piano, 1876, and The Boulevard Seen
from Above
,
1880.

After the exhibit leaves the
Washington, DC, it travels to Kimbell Art Museum,
Fort Worth, where it’s on view November 8, 2015–February 14, 2016.

Images from the National Gallery of Art Website: http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/exhibitions/2015/gustave-caillebotte.html?from=home-page except photo above from exhibit wall.

Washington, DC: Paris on the Potomac—Almost

 

Blogathon June 11

If you’re planning a summer visit to Washington, DC—the city
that Parisian born, American architect and civil engineer Pierre L’Enfant laid out—you’ll
find much to remind you of Paris: bridges and monuments, museums and more—even
a few French bistros (see below).

But if you love French artists, paintings, and photography
in particular, find time to linger at the National Gallery of Art and
The Phillips Collection:

National Gallery of Art (http://www.nga.gov)

On view now:

In Light of the Past: Twenty-Five Years of Photography at
the National Gallery of Art
—until July 26,
2015—includes 175 nineteenth-century images and turn-of-the-century pictorial
photographs, including early gems from French photographers such as Gustave Le
Gray. His albumen print above, The Pont du
Carrousel, Paris: View to the West from the Pont des Arts
(1856-1858) is timeless.
http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/exhibitions/2015/in-light-of-the-past.html

While there, don’t miss: Drawing
in Silver and Gold: Leonardo to Jasper Johns
in an adjacent gallery, a
show that also closes July 26. The exhibit features works from the Middle Ages to
the present and is lesson in metal point drawings by artists
who created prints with a metal-tipped stylus dipped in silver or gold. It’s a
visual delight. http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/exhibitions/2015/leonardo-to-jasper-johns.html

In addition, nearly 500 French artists are in the museum’s
general collection with many notable works from famous to lesser-known and
unknown painters and sculptors. Almost an artistic A-Z: Adolphe Appian to
Antoine Watteau, Degas and Delacroix, Poussin to Picasso, Manet to Morisot,
Jacques Villon and Nicolas Poussin, as well as Rousseau, Leger, and Georges de
la Tours, to name drop just a few.

For a list of French artists currently on view: http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/collection-search-result.html?keyword=French%20artists&artobj_vbnationality=French&pageNumber=1&lastFacet=artobj_vbnationality

Hours:

Open daily, except Christmas and New Year

Monday–Saturday: 10:00 AM–5:00 PM
Sunday: 11:00 AM–6:00 PM

Free admission

The Phillips Collection (http://www.phillipscollection.org)

The Phillips Collection is a treasure of Modern and Contemporary Art
near Dupont Circle. Industrialist Duncan Phillips’s mansion is the original
venue for his art collection, and the museum’s contemporary expansion into adjacent
town house space is a seamless addition.

If you love French impressionism, you’ll find the
jewel of their crown, Renoir’s “Luncheon
of the Boating Party
,” on view along with other French
masterworks (Matisse, Cezanne, Bonnard) as well as European and American
modernism to contemporary art.

Hours:

Closed Monday

Tuesday –Saturday: 10 AM-5 PM

Thursday, Extended hours till 8:30 PM

Sunday, Noon- 7 PM

General admission: $12, $10 for
students and seniors

Neighborhood French Restaurants in DC:

Bistrot
du Coin

A causal and fun French bistro and wine
bar at Dupont Circle. http://www.bistrotducoin.com/

Le
Chat Noir

An Intimate, friendly neighborhood restaurant in NW Washington at Tenleytown (15-20 minutes on Red Line, Metro).
http://lechatnoirrestaurant.com/

Bistroquete
Classic French with a Thai twist on MacArthur Blvd. You need a car or taxi from the Mall or Dupont Circle.
http://www.bistroquetdc.com/

La Chaumiere
Upscale French country cuisine in Georgetown, 5-10 minutes  by car from Dupont Circle.
http://www.lachaumieredc.com

Bistro D’oc

Informal French dining near the National Gallery with cuisine inspired by the Languedoc region.
http://www.bistrodoc.com/