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Happy Birthday Gustave Caillebotte!

August 19, 2011

Gustave Caillebotte circled in red in the foreground. Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919), Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881. Oil on canvas, 51 ¼ x 69 1/8 inches. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Acquired 1923.

The National Gallery in London reminded us that it’s Gustave Caillebotte’s birthday today. An artist in his own right, Caillebotte was a good friend of Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The fellow artists were so close that Renoir painted a youthful portrait of Caillebotte in the foreground of his celebrated Luncheon of the Boating Party. Spot him above, sitting backwards in his chair and dressed in a flat-topped boater hat. He’s grouped with the actress Angèle and the Italian journalist Maggiolo.

Learn more about the personalities in Renoir’s painting in this Who’s Who in the Boating Party.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 20, 2011 3:59 pm

    Although Renoir was indeed a close friend of Gustave, I’m told by my cousin (a Caillebotte descendant) that the man in the yellow hat is not Gustave.

    • Amy Wike permalink*
      August 22, 2011 3:54 pm

      Thanks for your comment, how exciting to have him in the family! Phillips Chief Curator Eliza Rathbone agrees with past scholars that the young man in the foreground of the painting is indeed Gustave Caillebotte. You can read more in her catalogue, Impressionists on the Seine:

      • August 22, 2011 4:24 pm

        Amy, what is Ms. Rathbone’s source.

      • Amy Wike permalink*
        August 22, 2011 6:22 pm

        In her catalog Impressionists on the Seine : A Celebration of Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party, Eliza Rathbone looks to a photograph from the Archives Durand-Ruel in Paris, annotated with sitter identities. She also references the earliest source of the sitters’ identity, a book simply called Renoir by Julius Meier-Graefe published in 1912, during Renoir’s lifetime. Please do let me know if I can be of any further assistance!

  2. August 22, 2011 7:27 pm

    Amy, I know you probably had to go look that up, so thank you for that. I truly appreciate it. I’ll be in Paris several days next month. Can you tell me which photo at the Archives Durand-Ruel you refer to? It’s not far from my hotel, and I’d like to stop by and look at it, if I can find out which photo to ask to see.

    It’s not likely to arrive in time, but I ordered the catalog. I also found the entire 1920 4th edition Renior book by Meier-Graff at It’s in German, ugh, but I found it on page 93. I don’t find any references to the sitters in though. I’ll translate it tomorrow – not fun when you don’t speak the language.

    • Amy Wike permalink*
      August 22, 2011 8:16 pm

      It’s my pleasure! The image referenced is a photo of Luncheon of the Boating Party with hand-written identities in the surrounding margin. That’s as much detail as I can provide on the image, but hopefully that description, along with the fact that it was used in Impressionists on the Seine, will get you started in your search. Website for the Durand-Ruel is here: Good luck with your searches!


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