Friday, May 6, 2011

Caillebotte brothers

 Paul and I just got in from seeing an exhibit at the Musée André-Jacquemart. You might know the name Caillebotte from the famous painting of the floor scrapers. Well, there were two rather wealthy brothers and one, Gustave, was a painter. He exhibited with the Impressionist and was a collector and patron. His brother, Marcel, took up photography. One of the things about Gustave was the way he chose the point of view for many of his paintings -- looking down on the floor scrappers, taking a plunging view from what seems to be a fifth-floor apartment on the Boulevard Haussmann (Marcel's apartment) and almost photographic, modern points of view. Marcel's photos, when you consider how expensive photo development and printing were, are exceptionally banal, everyday photos of family in their activities or at rest, people in the street, street scenes. They are not so different from what catches the eye today, like seeing two guys perched on ladders at the Place de la Concorde would be something I'd take a picture of, too. And this is modern because most 19th century photos were formal productions. Marcel took advantage of the new techniques that allowed for faster shooting. There is a lot of similarity between the two brothers' subject matter. Of course, there's family, but even the boating scenes or the railroad bridges are shared. As you can tell, I enjoyed it.
On the way home, we stopped to eat at Le Relais in Nogent and ate in the courtyard. The prices seem to have gone up there since the change in management, but the food was good, so no complaints. We've had such summer-like weather for the past month, I just know we're going to pay for it one way or another. Might as well take advantage of it, though. Paul is out reading (or sleeping?) in the backyard. The tomato plants are coming up just fine. I should buy more plants for the vegetable garden this weekend.

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