Gustave Caillebotte (1848 –1894): Richard Gallo and His Dog

Gustave Caillebotte (1848 –1894): Richard Gallo and His Dog

5/16/2021, 6:06:32 PM
Gustave Caillebotte (1848 –1894): Richard Gallo and His Dog at Petit Gennevilliers, c. 1884, oil on canvas, 89 × 116 cm, Private collection Richard Gallo appears in Gustave Caillebotte’s paintings more frequently than any other person. A close friend of Caillebotte, Gallo posed for three portraits... Little is known about Gallo other than he was the son of a French banker. While studying in Paris as a young man, Gallo went to school with Caillebotte. The portrait of Gallo and his dog provides a firmly dated example of Catllebotte engaging fully the techniques of Monet-like landscape painting at the point when discord within the group was hardening around the meaning and evolution of Impressionism. A corrosive presence of pigment in the painting pushed up, laid over, and retouched threatens the clarity of their contours; a somewhat random arrangement of light tends to deflate Gallo’s sculptural volume. Surely Gallo and his dog did not hold this pose for long. Caillebottc probably began by roughly blocking in his two protagonists, along with the broad horizontals of land, water, and sky, and then turned to the landscape around them. Like any painter of portraits, Caillebottc pays careful attention to Gallo’s face, hands, and the walking stick tucked under his arm: the layering of paint in these areas clarifies that they were completed after the rest. Central to the larger story of Caillebotte’s landscape painting is the way he evokes the natural setting of colour and light behind these silhouettes in black from the city. Much of the painting is devoted to reflections from the opposite bank playing on the river’s surface-an effect achieved by a systematic application of mainly horizontal strokes of paint on a smoothly painted ground of blue-gray.

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