What used to be the private home (1875) of the very wealthy Edouard André (1833-94) and his wife Nélie Jacquemart (1841-1912), a painter, was bequeathed to the “French Institute” (Institut de France, grouping the five academies and managing some thousand foundations, museums, castles…). Their previous home is now known as the Jacquemart-André Museum. It’s incredibly decorated inside (see top photo) and as the couple was fervent art collectors it contains also an important number of paintings and other pieces of art by e.g. Chardin, Boucher, Fragonard, Vigée-Lebrun, J-L David, Bellini, Botticelli, Canaletto, Donatello, Van Dyck, Hals, Rembrandt, della Robbia, Tepolo, Ucello….
It’s also a place for temporary exhibitions, like the one now ongoing about Gustave Caillebotte and his brother Martial. The better known one, Gustave (1848-94), was an impressionist painter (although he often painted in a more realistic manner). He was wealthy, participated but also sponsored several of the impressionist exhibitions and helped the other impressionist painters in many ways, including buying a large number of their paintings. During his short life (he died at 46) he had also the time to be an excellent yachtsman (designing his own boats), and philatelist, gardener... It took some time before he obtained the same reputation as his impressionist colleagues, but his paintings are now sold for millions of Euros or Dollars. Although he is presented in some of the major museums (especially Musée d’Orsay), a large part is still to be found in private collections. The present exhibition (no photos allowed) is thus an excellent opportunity to see tens of his paintings.
As we can see below, he painted often portraits, scenes from Paris, yachts, the garden in his home close to Paris (the lady with the roses is his long time mistress – he never married)...
Gustave lived with his brother Martial (1853-1910) until Martial married. They shared several passions, including yachting, photography, philately… , but Martial was especially a very good pianist and he also composed. We can see the brothers here; a self-portrait by Gustave, a photo of the two and a painting by Gustave of his brother at the piano. (If someone is more interested in Martial’s music, I could recommend this site - in French).
Many of the impressionist painters were thus very close friends to the two brothers, obviously more particularly Monet and Renoir (who both had been financially much helped by Gustave). Here is a photo of Martial’s two children , also painted by Renoir.
Gustave Caillebotte appears also on Renoir’s famous “Luncheon of the Boating Party” (see previous post – he’s the one in front on the right.)
In his will, Gustave donated a collection of 68 impressionist paintings to the French government. He had asked Renoir to be the executor. At Gustave’s death the impressionists had not yet today’s esteem and Renoir had to negotiate against a certain more classical resistance, referring to lack of space at the museum where the then living artists were exposed (Luxembourg). Despite several later attempts, finally almost half of the collection was refused. Below we can see what Gustave Caillebotte saved for our common pleasure, including some of the today’s best known impressionist works … and what was refused. Most of the refused ones are today in private ownership and many are even “lost”, somewhere, and we don’t even know what they look(ed) like.
This is where you can find the museum and the exhibition (until July 11, 2011).