The so called “perfect boy next door” was always there in all era. This refers to a boy who has a decent family background, smart, talented, nice looking and even warm hearted. There was a perfect boy next door in Paris, France in the 19th century as well. He was Gustave Caillebotte, a member and supporter of Impressionists.
Gustave, who was born to a wealthy family in Paris, France in 1848, not only did well at school but also was talented in painting. Although he acquired a law degree at the age of 20 and passed the bar at the age of 22, he entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts at the age of 25 to become a painter. He could not ignore his colleagues such as Monet, Renoir, and Degas, who suffered financially unlike himself, who was able to focus on painting without any financial sufferings, owing to the tremendous amount of inheritance from his parents. He supported them by opening exhibitions for expressionist artists and purchasing their work. He even paid the rent for Monet. In 70 years after his death, Caillebotte was reevaluated as an expressionist artist who best depicted the urban landscape of 19th-century Paris from a supporter of Impressionism.
This painting, which is his representative work, demonstrates the landscape of the Dublin Square in Paris on a rainy winter afternoon. The road is maintained in a wide and even manner and the square is surrounded by sophisticated buildings of five, six stories. Parisians, who are holding umbrellas, are walking across the beautiful roads of Paris despite the weather. Unlike other impressionist artists who emphasized brush strokes and the effects of light, Gustave emphasized a realistic yet unique structure and used bold perspective. As he recognized photographs as a form of art from an early stage, he drew paintings in a snapshot structure. That is why the half of the back of the man passing in front of the couple in the picture is missing.
The perfect boy next door, who never got married and lived as a supporter recognizing the value of Impressionism works, passed away of tuberculosis at the age of 46 after leaving a will that all 68 pieces of his collection were to be donated to the country. The gemlike masterpieces of impressionism that he collected to help his friends can be appreciated in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris today.