Gustave Caillebotte (1848–1894) was one of the central figures of French Impressionism, yet he is among those artists who remain to be discovered today. His fame was initially founded on his role as a patron, and only later did he gain full recognition as a painter.
Caillebotte’s painting “Paris Street, Rainy Day” (“Rue de Paris, temps de pluie”), completed in 1877 and now an icon of Impressionism, is coming to the Alte Nationalgalerie. It is considered one of the artist’s principle works, and is a showpiece of the Art Institute of Chicago. The monumental painting has rarely travelled to Europe in the past, and this will be its very first appearance in Berlin. The fact that “Paris Street, Rainy Day” is being shown here is certainly a sensation, and results from a unique international cooperation: the Art Institute of Chicago will be loaned Edouard Manet’s “In the Conservatory” for a major monographic exhibition; in return, the Alte Nationalgalerie will be able to show this masterpiece by an artist who is otherwise not represented in their collection. Thereby both German and American audiences will benefit from the unique opportunity to visit exhibitions with rarely available works.
Caillebotte’s groundbreaking piece with its almost life-sized figures and unconventional perspective was presented at the Third Impressionist Exhibition of 1877, and even today it has lost none of its intriguing allure. “Paris Street, Rainy Day” exemplifies both the Impressionists ‘new vision’ and Caillebotte’s adoption of modern urban motifs. Carefully selected studies and preparatory sketches for his principal work allow visitors to the exhibition to better understand this atypical Impressionist’s creative process.