IU Art Museum’s painting to be part of exhibition near Paris

A painting from the IU Art Museum’s collection will be on display in France this year.

Art at IU turned to Jenny McComas, the museum’s curator of Western Art after 1800, for more details about the painting and its place in the museum’s collection:

The IU Art Museum’s painting, “Yerres, Effect of Rain,” was painted in 1875 by artist Gustave Caillebotte at his summer home at Yerres, which is today a suburb of Paris. The exhibition where it will be shown, “Caillebotte à Yerres au temps de l’impressionnisme,” runs April 5 to July 20.

Gustave Caillebotte (French, 1848-1894), "Yerres, Effect of Rain," 1875, oil on canvas, 31 5/8 x 23 1/4 inches, IU Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Nicholas H. Noyes.

Gustave Caillebotte (French, 1848-1894), “Yerres, Effect of Rain,” 1875, oil on canvas, 31 5/8 x 23 1/4 inches, IU Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Nicholas H. Noyes.

The museum’s painting — which McComas said is considered to be among the finest of Caillebotte’s works from the 1870s — depicts rain falling on the Yerres River and a small boat on the far side of the riverbank. The composition is divided into three distinct sections — the bank, the river and the background with trees — reflecting the artist’s interest in Japanese prints, which were popular in late 19th-century France. These strong diagonal lines and the concentric circles of raindrops lend some abstract elements to the work, and foreshadow later developments in modern painting.

Caillebotte, who was from a wealthy family with no need to sell his work, has been less well known than other Impressionists such as Claude Monet, who were more involved with the art market. Many of Caillebotte’s paintings — including “Yerres, Effect of Rain” — remained in his family’s collection until well into the 20th century. The IU Art Museum acquired the painting in 1971 when a donor purchased it for the museum from a New York gallery.

Art historians began to pay more attention to Caillebotte in the 1990s. The IU Art Museum’s painting was included in exhibitions during that era in Paris, London and Chicago that reintroduced the artist’s work to the general public and, more recently, in exhibitions in Switzerland, Copenhagen, Brooklyn, Frankfurt and The Hague.

“I am pleased this Caillebotte painting has been included in so many exhibitions, as it speaks to the high quality and importance of this work. Many people probably don’t realize the IU Art Museum lends works from its collection to major exhibitions, both in the U.S. and abroad,” McComas said. “This is because we hold some very significant works in our collection. When we lend our works, it raises the profile of our collection and brings us to the attention of the broader artistic and museum community.”

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