Paris Street; Rainy Day (Rue de Paris; temps de pluie)

The current exhibition at the Kimbell Art Museum in Ft. Worth is one of the better shows of the Impressionists that I have seen in a while. The paintings in The Impressionists: Master Paintings from the Art Institute of Chicago are being shown at the Kimbell while the Art Institute is going through some renovations. No, unfortunately the Seurat painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is not in the exhibition.

I didn’t know it until I entered the middle room of the exhibition, but Paris Street, Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte is in the exhibition. I was excited to see this painting up close and in person. If I knew before how huge it was, I had forgotten, but I had to stare at it for a very long time. It is approximately 7 feet tall and 9 feet wide. I’ve got to go back and see it again. Caillebotte, who painted this scene in 1877, was much wealthier than his contemporaries so he didn’t have to paint just to survive. Therefore, his output of work was smaller compared to the volume of paintings by Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, etc.

Paris Street provokes a couple of questions, as the audio tour to the exhibition points out. What is the couple looking at across the street? Are they and the man with the umbrella approaching them going to collide? Caillebotte’s work is more realistic and photographic than impressionistic, as were a few others of his paintings.