Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894)
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Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894)

Vase de glaïeuls

Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894)
Vase de glaïeuls
with the signature (lower right; see note)
oil on canvas
31 7/8 x 25 5/8 in. (81 x 65 cm.)
Painted in Trouville in 1887-1888
The artist's estate.
Private collection, France; sale, Christie's, New York, 4 May 2005, lot 41.
Acquired at the above sale, and thence by descent to the present owners.
M. Berhaut, Caillebotte l'impressionniste, Lausanne & Paris, 1968, p. 39 (illustrated pl. 18).
M. Berhaut, Gustave Caillebotte, Sa vie et son oeuvre, Catalogue raisonné des peintures et pastels, Paris, 1978, no. 325, p. 191 (illustrated).
M.J. Balanda, Gustave Caillebotte, Lausanne, 1988, p. 138 (illustrated p. 139).
M. Berhaut, Gustave Caillebotte, Sa vie et son oeuvre, Catalogue raisonné des peintures et pastels, Paris, 1994, no. 361, p. 207 (illustrated).
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Exposition rétrospective d'oeuvres de Gustave Caillebotte, June 1894, no. 95.
Paris, Galerie Beaux-Arts, Rétrospective Gustave Caillebotte, May - July 1951, no. 51.
Chartres, Musée de Chartres, Caillebotte et ses amis impressionnistes, June - September 1965, no. 31.
London, Wildenstein & Co., Gustave Caillebotte, 1848-1894, June - July 1966, no. 34.
New York, Wildenstein & Co., A Loan Exhibition of Paintings, Gustave Caillebotte, September - October 1968, no. 46.
Brunoy, Musée de Brunoy, Gustave Caillebotte, un peintre dans son jardin, May - June 1987, no. 11.
Frankfurt, Schirn Kunsthalle, Gustave Caillebotte - Un impressionniste et la photographie, October 2012 - January 2013, no. 141, p. 182 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to La Haye, Gemeentemuseum February - May 2013. .
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Lot Essay

The Comité Caillebotte has confirmed the authenticity of this work which is included in its database on the artist.

Vase de glaïeuls explosively showcases Gustave Caillebotte's most vivid Impressionist technique. Crystallised in the thick impasto of the painting, a bouquet of gladioli exhibits its frail chains of flowers. Setting the vase against a dark background, Caillebotte has enhanced the deep, sensuous red of these flowers, dramatically capturing their beauty.

The vigorous brushstrokes used in this work evoke the enthusiastic rediscovery of the floral still life genre spurred by Impressionism in those years. For this reason, Vase de glaïeuls resonates with the art of the time, in particular with Claude Monet's Chrysanthèmes rouges, 1881, which Caillebotte owned as part of his outstanding Impressionist collection. Caillebotte's expressive use of impasto in the work is also reminiscent of a series of flower paintings executed by Vincent van Gogh in Paris two years earlier. Van Gogh's flower still-lifes were themselves inspired by the work of Adolphe Monticelli, an artist Caillebotte might have met at the Cafè Guerbois around 1870 when the Parisian painter Paul Guigou introduced Monticelli to the Impressionists.

The year he painted Vase de glaïeuls, Caillebotte decided to reside permanently at his property at Petit Gennevilliers, near Argenteuil. There, owning one hectare of land, he could freely indulge in his passion for horticulture, designing the garden and collecting exotic plants and orchids for his greenhouse. Flowers and garden scenes thus proliferated in his art, introducing a new decorative dimension. Just like Monet at Giverny, Caillebotte turned Le Petit Gennevilliers into his own artistic realm, which he shaped and portrayed simultaneously, so much so that after his death in 1894, the writer and art critic Gustave Geffroy remembered him as the 'wise lover of gardens' (G. Geffroy, quoted in M. Berhaut, Gustave Caillebotte, Sa vie et son oeuvre, Catalogue raisonné des peintures et pastels, Paris, 1994, p. 45).

Unlike many of his Impressionist friends, Caillebotte enjoyed great wealth, which allowed him to paint daring compositions without depending on their sale for support. He exhibited consistently with the Impressionists, becoming a crucial organizer of their shows, financially supporting several of his friends. At the death of the artist, Vase de glaïeuls was part of the artist's estate. The painting was signed on behalf of Caillebotte by Pierre-Auguste Renoir who, together with the artist's brother Martial, was the executor of his ground breaking will, which resulted in a group of Impressionist masterpieces bequeathed to the State, eventually marking the official acceptance of the movement's importance.

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