"Caillebotte à Yerres" - Spend the Day at the Country Home of Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte

"Pénissoires sur l'Yerres" (1877) National Gallery of Art Washington

The day dawned bright and beautiful as I boarded the bus bound for Yerres yesterday morning. Like the Impressionist painters in the late 1800s, I was escaping the hectic streets of Paris for an idyllic interlude in the French countryside. The occasion? "Caillebotte à Yerres", a major exhibition featuring 43 masterpieces by Gustave Caillebotte at the painter's familial home. This event is all the more remarkable because it's the first time that many of these works have been exhibited in public. Viewing them together, at the place where they were painted, is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Peche à la ligne, Baigneurs, bords de l'Yerres and Pénissoires sur l'Yerres, Caillebotte's three-panel triptiyque was first displayed at the fourth Impressionist Exhibition in Paris in 1879 

Gustave Caillebotte, who was 12 years old when his parents purchased their summer residence in Yerres, painted some of his most important works at the familial home between 1875 and 1879. The first room, which was probably my favorite, portrays the pleasures of summer. Caillebotte's three-panel triptiyque, exceptionally reunited for the exhibition, features men paddling on the Yerres River, a swimmer preparing to dive into the refreshing water and a man with a fishing pole quietly contemplating the river as it flows past.

Le parc de la propriété (1875)

Strolling through the estate's tranquil gardens, it's easy to understand why inspiration came so easily to the painter in Yerres. Using the application that accompanies the exhibition, it felt as though the painter took my hand for a private guided tour. "Here," he seemed to whisper in my ear, "Is where I set my easel to paint Le parc de la propriété" and "There," he added, pointing towards a spot on the riverbank, "is where I observed the concentric circles produced by the rain splattering on the surface of the river as I painted L'Yerres, effets de pluie."

L'Yerres, effets de pluie (1875)

Much more than an exhibition, "Caillebotte à Yerres" is an unprecedented opportunity to walk in the painter's footsteps. I suggest taking the train from Paris and spending the day in Yerres. While you're there, be sure to visit "Caillebotte's Garden", an award-winning educational garden at the far end of the estate. The beautifully restored L'Orangerie offers rapid dining options, while the Chalet de Parc is a gastronomic restaurant and teahouse located in the Swiss chalet constructed by Caillebotte's father. If you would like to emulate the boaters in Caillebotte's paintings, rowboats are available for rent on the estate.

As "Caillebotte à Yerres" is a major exhibition, I strongly recommend visiting during the week.

Caillebotte à Yerre (April 5 - July 20, 2014)
Propriété Caillebotte
8, rue de Concy
91330 Yerre

Boat rental: 3:00-7:00 pm on weekends and holidays in April and May; 3:00-7:00 pm on Wednesdays, weekends and holidays in June; 3:00-7:00 pm daily, with the exception of Monday, in July and August.

Directions to the exhibition: Take the RER D (direction Melun/Malesherbes) from Gare de Lyon to Yerres. From the station, take bus line "F" to Caillebotte's estate. Or, walk 15 minutes from the station to the estate. The way is clearly marked with "Caillebotte à Yerres" signs.

 The Orangerie
Lunch at the Chalet de Parc
Lunch at the Chalet de Parc
Rowboats for rent on the Yerres River

Comments

  1. oh wow! I am so happy for you and just a little more jealous. What a great exhibit to see. So do I understand correctly that his urban images are not part of the show? I may prefer those images to these more pastoral but they are all beautiful.

    And I love your phrasing, ever so French, "rapid dining options", we say Fast Food. And I see you opted for dessert, chocolate at that--a lady after my own heart. Who accompanied you?

    jxg

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  2. oh and PS--yes, I'd so be rowing the afternoon away in a boat. So beautiful.

    jxg

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  3. This looks like a wonderful place to visit!

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  4. This looks as beautiful as Giverny! Will have to put this on my list of things to do soon.

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  5. How nice to see them in the original setting. I think the only artist's house I've visited is Renoir's in Cagnes-sur-Mur, which is a beautiful spot too. I don't really know Caillebotte, other than the famous rainy street scene.

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