Gustave Caillebotte: Le Pont de l’Europe, esquisse (1876)

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Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894), Le Pont de l’Europe, esquisse, stamped with signature ‘G. Caillebotte.’ (lower right), oil on canvas, 25 ½ x 32 in. (64.7 x 81.3 cm.), Painted in 1876, Source: Christie’s

The painting depicts one of the engineering marvels of Caillebotte’s day, an immense bridge spanning the rail yards of the Gare Saint-Lazare. Two men gaze through the massive iron trellises of the bridge toward the depot, the roof of which is glimpsed between the X-shaped girders at the right. Rather than cloaking the latticework of the bridge in vapor, as Monet did in his contemporaneous views of the station, Caillebotte audaciously exploited its unembellished geometry—the embodiment of brute industrial architecture—to organize his composition. The structural elements of the Le Pont de l’Europe, esquisse, flattened against the plane of the canvas and cut off by its edges, press the figures into the very foreground, inviting the viewer to occupy the notably empty space to their right and to join them in contemplating the spectacle of modernity below.

Christie’s
zscreenshot_2019-01-19 2018_nyr_15971_0023a_000(gustave_caillebotte_le_pont_de_leurope_esquisse) jpg (jpeg image, 3200 × 251[...]
Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894), Le Pont de l’Europe, esquisse, stamped with signature ‘G. Caillebotte.’ (lower right), oil on canvas, 25 ½ x 32 in. (64.7 x 81.3 cm.), Painted in 1876, Source: Christie’s (detail).

The two central figures in the present composition differ in class but share a view of modern Paris at work, emblematic of the way that industrialization blurred long-standing patterns of association. The man in the blue smock wears a stylish bowler that implies a certain upward mobility, suggesting that he is both a laborer and a businessman, maybe a shopkeeper. The top-hatted man, in contrast, is a true bourgeois, with grey frock coat and gloved hands.

“They are transfixed by the spectacle of modern technology,” Julia Sargraves has written, “as if held firmly by the crossed and bolted iron girders of the Pont de l’Europe itself” (Gustave Caillebotte, Urban Impressionist, exh. cat., The Art Institute of Chicago, 1995, p. 107).

Christie’s

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Best viewed At Sunnyside

Details

Sources

Christie’s, Sale 15971, “Gustave Caillebotte, Le Pont de l’Europe, esquisse (1876),” Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale, New York, 15 May 2018, https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Paintings/gustave-caillebotte-le-pont-de-leurope-esquisse-6140958-details.aspx?lid=1&from=relatedlot&intobjectid=6140958 (accessed 16 Jan 2019).

Read More

Gustave Caillebotte at The Art Story

A Room with a View: Gustave Caillebotte’s Paintings at artschaft

 See More

Gustave Caillebotte at WikiArt

Thanks For Visiting! 🙂

~Sunnyside

2 Comments Add yours

  1. penwithlit says:

    Reblogged this on penwithlit and commented:
    Love Caillebotte and his perspectives!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the reblog, penwithlit. 🙂

      Like

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