Boston gets another Caillebotte

September 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Man at His Bath | Gustave Caillebotte

BOSTON – The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has acquired Man at His Bath (1884), regarded as one of the greatest paintings by Gustave Caillebotte (1848–1894).

Man at His Bath was painted in 1884 by Caillebotte, who was known for his scenes of urban life on the grand new boulevards of Paris. Favorites include Paris Street, Rainy Day (1877, Art Institute of Chicago) and the Floor Scrapers (1875, Musée d’Orsay).

Born into a wealthy family, Caillebotte sold few of his paintings. Instead, he bought work by his friends, including Cézanne, Degas, Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir and Sisley. When he died in 1894 at the age of 45, Caillebotte left the best of his collection to the French state. Today they hang at the recently renovated Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

Man at His Bath, measuring approximately 6 x 4 ½ feet, traveled to Brussels in 1888 to be exhibited by the vanguard organization Les XX (“The Twenty”). But it appears to have been removed from the general exhibition and shown privately only to a few visitors. It passed to the artist’s family in Paris. In 1967 it was acquired by a private collection, which recently sold it to the MFA. Man at His Bath is the second Caillebotte painting to enter the collection in Boston, joining Fruit Displayed on a Stand (circa 1882).

To purchase Man at His Bath, the MFA is deaccessioning eight late 19th century works:

View from the Artist’s Window, Eragny, 1885, Camille Pissarro
Overcast Day at Saint-Mammès, about 1880, Alfred Sisley
Gust of Wind, 1899, Maxime Camille Louis Maufra
Forest Interior (Sous-Bois), 1884, Paul Gauguin
The Fort of Antibes, 1888, Claude Monet
Bust Portrait of a Young Woman, about 1890, Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Saint-Mammès: Morning (Le Matin), 1881, Alfred Sisley
Pearl Mosque, Delhi, late 1880s, Vasily Vereshchagin

EARLIER: “How the ‘Floor Scrapers’ found a home

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