Oil on canvas
Unframed: 81.3 x 65.6 cm (32 x 25 13/16 in.)
Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2009.157
Before becoming a painter, Gustave Caillebotte studied to be a lawyer.
Among Gustave Caillebotte’s most celebrated works are his views of modern Paris seen from balconies and terraces, a theme that first appeared in his paintings of the mid-1870s. This painting depicts a middle-aged man sitting in room and looking toward a window with laced curtains. His fashionable suit and bow tie are markers of his social status as a flâneur of the urban bourgeoisie. Rather than wearing an expression of joy or delight, the sunlight raking across his face accentuates his heavily lidded eyes and sagging facial muscles, giving him a deeply contemplative expression as he gazes at the world from the comfort of his sumptuous apartment.
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