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Gustave Caillebotte at Wildenstein

GUSTAVE CAILLEBOTTE WAS A SUCCESSFUL and athletic maritime designer (the theme of boating and water sports are central to his painting). His wealth and intelligence allowed him to patronize (as he pillaged) the Impressionists with whom he exhibited in five of eight manifestations. The scandal ignited by the Louvre’s refusal to accept in a single bequest (it entered in a truncated version) the Caillebotte gift of sixty-five Impressionist works at the time of the artist’s death provided yet another notorious insight into the still despotic resistance to modernist views among the academicians for, by 1894, Impressionism was a moribund vanguard superseded by several splinter activist solutions (among them the classicistic formulae of Seurat and Cézanne as well as the Symbolist proclivities of a large body of young painters in varying degrees of sympathy with Gauguin).

These issues, familiar to

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