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Canoe on the Yerres River

Canoe on the Yerres River, 1878

Gustave Caillebotte
French, 1848-1894
Oil on canvas
25-7/8 x 31-7/8 in. (65.7 x 81.0 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation, from the Estate of Jennifer Jones Simon
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on View

In 1877 and 1878, Gustave Caillebotte made a number of pictures of swimmers, oarsmen and rowers near his family’s estate in Yerres, a small town southeast of Paris that had already attracted the artistic attentions of Édouard Manet and Claude Monet. An active yachtsman and recent participant in the Impressionist exhibitions, Caillebotte was clearly drawn to a subject that enabled him to experiment with the fleeting effects of rippling water and reflected light. Canoe on the Yerres River appears to be unfinished, but it may have served as a study for a related painting entitled Skiffs, now in the collection of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. Both paintings reveal the artist’s fascination with perspective, as the canoer’s radically foreshortened limbs and oddly obscured face draw attention to the conditions of seeing rather than the reality of appearance.

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