Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Young Man at His Window
Oil on canvas
117 x 82 cm
I wrote this up last night and forgot to post it! Sorry its late!
I am not exactly sure why I chose this particular work. Once again, my choice of artist stems from exposure to another exhibition catalog. This time a monograph on the artist Gustave Caillebotte, who I readily admit never hearing of before, though I do recognize one work so far.
Associated with the Impressionists (Monet, Degas, etc.) he spent much of his time as a rich young collector of the work of his colleagues, helping to market their work. His own work is debated about. While I was never originally a fan of work of the late 19th century, the random choosing of that period to cover for my first lecture to an auditorium undergraduates, was the start of a never before seen appreciation and eventual interest in the period. In addition to all kinds of awesomeness that was occuring at the end of the 19th c. Caillebotte covered a lot of ground in his work, from still lifes and interior scenes to urban Paris and boating scenes (he was an accomplished boat designer as well). While the boating and seafaring scenes didn't do much to peak my interest (the focus of the catalog) I decided to do some more investigating and found myself drawn to some of his other works
What do I love about today's work? I love that you can't see the young man's face, the care that is taken in the detail of the vertical bits on the railing (does anyone know what these are called?), the only color coming from the lower right hand of the painting in the chair and rug, that the man's right leg is slightly back as if he is going to step away from the window yet is left foot is planted and his face is set on the bright day outside...
This excerpt by Kirk Varnedoe (Gustave Caillebote 2000) brings up a lot of the reasons for the difficulty there has been placing Caillebotte in the history of art. An artist's place in history is a unique topic, depending so much on the selling of work as well as the passing on of appreciation. Artists and writers roles shift in and out throughout our reading of history. Current culture and climates affect how we perceive one's art today, yesterday and tomorrow. Guess where I got this image?!