Title: Paris: A Rainy Day
Artist: Gustave Caillebotte
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 6’ 9” X 9’ 9”
Current Location: Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
- Depicts the Place de Dublin, an intersection near the Gare Saint-Lazare, a railroad station in north Paris.
- It debuted at the Third Impressionist Exhibition of 1877
- Caillebotte’s interest in photography is evident from the painting. The figures in the foreground appear slightly “out of focus”, those in the mid-distance (the carriage and the pedestrians in the middle of the intersection) have sharp edges, while the features in the background becomes progressively indistinct. The severe cropping of some figures further suggests the influence
- Despite the sharp focus of Paris: A Rainy Day, the picture captures the artist’s “impression” of urban life.
- Although Caillebotte did not dissolve his image into the broken color and brushwork characteristic of Impressionism, he did use an informal and asymmetrical composition.
- He manages to give the impression of rain without painting a single rain-drop. As an viewer, we know it raining because the colours seem bleak and without a faux-liveliness that could have been imparted on the scene. We know it is raining because the figures carry umbrellas, and as there are no strong shadows, only the darkness cast by ambient lighting to be found under overcast skies; so the figures are not sheltering from the sun. Furthermore, the impression of water between the dull-cobbles of the road reflecting the shapes and tone of the walking figures create the instantly recognizable aesthetic of water on a solid surface