Caillebotte, Gustave

Paris 1848 - Gennevilliers 1894
Biography & List of works

Portrait de Madame Anne-Marie Hagen

Portrait de Madame Anne-Marie Hagen

SOLD

Medium: Oil on canvas

Size: 28 x 21 ¾ in / 71.1 x 55.2 cm

Signed: and dated lower right: G Caillebotte / 79

Provenance:

Private collection, Rheims.

Literature:

To be included in the catalogue critique of the work of Gustave Caillebotte being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute; This painting is recorded as an autograph work of Gustave Caillebotte in the archives of the Comité Caillebotte. 

Born into a wealthy Normandy family, Gustave Caillebotte was at the centre of the Impressionist movement, exhibiting with the group from 1876 to 1882. He inherited a fortune from his father in 1874 and had no need to sell his paintings but was a generous benefactor to his fellow artists. Caillebotte amassed a superb collection of Impressionist works which he bequeathed to the French nation in 1894; today they form the core Impressionist collection of the Musée d’Orsay. Because he had no need of promotion by a dealer, many of Caillebotte’s own paintings remained in the collection of his family and friends. It was not until the 1970s that his work attracted serious scholarly attention and he was revealed as one of the most innovative and original of the Impressionist painters. His output was relatively modest compared with some of his contemporaries – he died aged just forty-six – and his financial independence enabled him to choose more radical subjects than some of his contemporaries.

The uncluttered, flickering background and subtly modulated tones of cool purple, blue and rose in the present portrait emphasise the sitter’s elegance; serenely depicted here is Caillebotte’s companion Anne-Marie Hagen. She appears in a number of his paintings, most famously in Le pont de l’Europe, 1876 (Musée du Petit Palais, Geneva). Presented as an élégante walking across the bridge towards the viewer, she has just been overtaken by a dandy, the artist himself, who cannot help turning his head to catch another glimpse of her beauty. The painter leaves uncertain whether the two are together, or whether the man is admiring a stranger. Does she walk on her own because Caillebotte wants the central figure to be perceived as the archetypal, independent flâneur, or because he is making a subtle reference to the secrecy of their relationship? Anne-Marie’s status in the painter’s life was similarly ambiguous – Caillebotte’s haut-bourgeois family disapproved of his having a mistress and upon learning of her existence his sister-in-law refused to see the couple. Nonetheless, Anne-Marie populated Caillebotte’s canvases during their near decade-long relationship. She appears, exquisitely dressed in a winter costume in Caillebotte’s Portrait de jeune femme dans un intérieur,. She holds a fan in the unfinished oil Portrait de jeune femme (private collection) and conceals her face with her arm in Caillebotte’s Nu au divan (Minneapolis Institute of Fine Arts). Here here kind brown eyes, creamy skin and delicate hands are adorned only by discreet jewellery and she wears a sober, well-cut dress. Simplicity, stillness, intelligence and affection inform the portrait and, completely relaxed, Anne-Marie gazes trustingly at the artist with an easy intimacy. If she bore the label of ‘kept woman’, Caillebotte refused to portray Anne-Marie as a Nana figure, and showed his companion not as a sensual object, but as an observant and dignified woman. Caillebotte was involved with Anne-Marie from sometime around 1876 until 1884, the date of his last known portrait of her: La femme à la rose, 1884 (formerly Robert Orchard Collection) shows an older Anne-Marie against a plain background, in a dark dress which contrasts with the vivid burgundy rose at her throat. Though it has been argued by some art historians that Anne-Marie was in fact the same person as another character in Caillebotte’s life, Charlotte Berthier, contending that the latter was simply a pseudonym of Anne-Marie Hagen’s, it is almost certain that the two women were simply both lovers of the painter: Anne-Marie from c. 1876 – c 1884, and Charlotte from a date prior to 1883 until the painter’s death. Charlotte Berthier can be firmly identified as the young woman painted by Renoir in 1883 (now in the National Gallery, Washington) and in a will Caillebotte drafted that same year he left Charlotte Berthier a FFr. 12,000 annuity. Renoir’s Charlotte Berthier is indisputably of a different physical appearance to Anne-Marie as she appears in Caillebotte’s 1884 La femme à la rose. Caillebotte himself was modest and generous; a critic wrote of him in 1882 that he ‘lives very quietly, detests compliments, asks only to defend his school, and would never want to carry off a victory.’ In 1887, Caillebotte moved permanently with Charlotte Berthier to the house that he had bought at Petit Gennevilliers in 1880 and that he left to Charlotte in a codicil to his will in 1889. There they lived in a flower-filled domestic paradise that Caillebotte often painted in these years. Roses in the garden at Petit Gennevilliers, c.1881-83 (private collection), shows its well-ordered beauty; whether the woman tending roses in the painting is Anne-Marie Hagen or Charlotte Berthier we may never know.

Born into a wealthy Normandy family, Gustave Caillebotte was a lynchpin of Impressionism, exhibiting with the group from 1876 to 1882. He inherited a fortune from his father in 1874 and had no need to sell his paintings, but was a generous benefactor to fellow artists. Caillebotte amassed a superb group of Impressionist works which he bequeathed to the French nation in 1894; today they form the core collection of the Musée d’Orsay. Because he had no need of promotion by a dealer such as Durand-Ruel, who spread the gospel of Monet and his circle, many of Caillebotte’s own paintings remained in the collection of his family and friends. It was not until the 1970s that his work attracted serious scholarly attention and he was revealed as one of the most innovative and original painters of the Impressionist group. His output was relatively modest – he died aged just forty-six – and his financial independence enabled him to choose more radical subjects than some of his contemporaries. Caillebotte used his family and friends as models in his paintings of modern life; most of his portraits are of people with whom he had a close connection. This serene work depicts his companion Anne-Marie Hagen[1], who appears in a number of his paintings, most famously as the fashionably-dressed woman on the bridge in Le pont de l’Europe, 1876 (Musée du Petit Palais, Geneva)[2]. Caillebotte modelled for the flâneur at the fulcrum of this work: a few steps ahead, he glances back at this lady, so that it is not certain whether they are together, or whether he is admiring a stranger. The status of Anne-Marie was similarly shadowy and elusive. Caillebotte’s haut-bourgeois family disapproved of his having a mistress; to the world he was a bachelor-about-town, living with his brother Martial on the Boulevard Haussmann. Simplicity, stillness, intelligence and affection inform this portrait. The uncluttered but shimmering background and subtly modulated tones of purple, blue and rose emphasise Madame Hagen’s elegance and self-possession. Discreet jewellery – gold bracelets, a diamond ring, earrings – offsets her sober, well-cut dress. The predominant palette, as so often in Caillebotte’s interior scenes and portraits, is cool, while the caressing, varied brushwork creates a figure that is vividly real. Completely relaxed, Anne-Marie gazes trustingly at the artist, inhabiting the space with an easy intimacy. Caillebotte himself was modest and generous; a critic wrote of him in 1882 that he ‘lives very quietly, detests compliments, asks only to defend his school, and would never want to carry off a victory’[3]. After Martial married in 1887, Caillebotte moved permanently with Charlotte Berthier, who seems to have replaced Anne-Marie in his affections in the mid-1880s, to the house that he had bought at Petit Gennevilliers in 1880. There they lived in a flower-filled domestic paradise that Caillebotte often painted in his later years. Roses in the garden at Petit Gennevilliers, c.1881-83 (private collection), shows her tending the flowers, the architect of all this well-ordered beauty[4].It has been argued by some art historians that Anne-Marie Hagen is the same young woman as Charlotte Berthier, who appears in Caillebotte’s Will of 1883, giving her a FFr. 12,000 annuity, and in a codicil of 1889 leaving her the house at Petit Gennevilliers[5]. As Charlotte can be firmly identified as the young woman portrayed in 1883 by Renoir in a painting now in the National Gallery, Washington DC, it is clear that she and Anne-Marie were indeed different women. Exquisitely dressed in a winter costume, Anne-Marie Hagen appears in a Portrait de jeune femme dans un intérieur, 1877 (private collection)[6]. She is holding a fan in the unfinished oil Portrait de jeune femme (private collection)[7]. La femme à la rose, 1884 (formerly Robert Orchard Collection; private collection)[8], the last known representation of her, like the present work shows Anne-Marie in a frontal pose against a plain background, in a dark dress which contrasts with the vivid burgundy rose at her throat. Kind brown eyes, creamy skin and strong, capable hands are features both of this and our 1879 portrait. As in our portrait and Le pont de l’Europe, one can see the glint of the same gold bracelet on her left wrist. Although she inhabited the territory of the ‘kept woman’, Caillebotte shows Anne-Marie not as a sensual plaything but as an intelligent and dignified human being, a much-loved life’s companion, despite his family’s disapproval. Gustave Caillebotte, Le pont de l’Europe, 1876. Musée du Petit Palais, Geneva. Gustave Caillebotte, La femme à la rose, 1884. Private collection. GUSTAVE CAILLEBOTTEParis 1848 - 1894 Gennevilliers The son of a wealthy textile manufacturer of Norman descent, Gustave Caillebotte gained a law degree before studying with Léon Bonnat in 1872 and briefly at the Ecole des Beaux Arts the following year. He was attracted by the radical work of the young painters who would become known as the Impressionists after meeting met Degas at the house of Giuseppe de Nittis in 1874. He joined the group for the second Impressionist exhibition of 1876 and showed with them until 1882, making great efforts to keeping the squabbling painters united. Having inherited a large fortune from his father in 1874, Caillebotte had no need to sell his work and could help his friends financially, amassing a superb collection of Impressionist paintings which he bequeathed to the nation in 1894. Including masterpieces such as Manet’s Balcony, 1869 and Monet’s Gare St-Lazare, 1877, it today forms the core collection of the Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Planing the floor, 1875 (Musée d’Orsay) combines the sombre palette and traditional execution that Caillebotte would have learned from Bonnat with a working-class subject and strikingly unusual composition that indicates his search for a ‘new Realism’. It was shown at the Impressionist exhibition of 1876. Until 1881 Caillebotte’s subjects were contemporary modern life and the domestic life of his family, as well as plein-air studies at his family’s country house at Yerres. Critics praised the parallels in his work with Realist writers; Zola called him ‘a painter of the highest courage’. In 1878 Caillebotte moved to 31 Boulevard Haussmann, behind the Opéra, in the heart of Baron Haussmann’s sleek, contemporary Paris. It inspired him to capture the light and shade, the compelling severity of the city’s architecture. Top-hatted dandies are often turned from the viewer, mysterious ‘modern men’ as unemotional as their surroundings. Disillusioned by the discord surrounding the Impressionists, Caillebotte moved in 1881 to Petit-Gennevilliers near Argenteuil, where he could indulge his passion for yachting. He painted the Normandy coast and the Seine, evoking light and atmosphere with broken Impressionist brushwork and a high-key palette much influenced by Monet. At Petit-Gennevilliers, Caillebotte became an enthusiastic gardener. Works such as Dahlias, the garden at Petit-Gennevilliers, 1893 (private collection; Berhaut no.443) are boldly and freely executed. Caillebotte was engaged in a series of panels portraying exotic plants from his greenhouse, intended for his dining room, when he died in 1894. As most of his work remained in the collections of his family and friends, Caillebotte’s extraordinary contribution to Impressionism remained less well known than that of his peers, but has gradually been rediscovered since the 1970s. The work of Gustave Caillebotte is represented in the Musée d’Orsay, Paris; the Musée du Petit Palais, Geneva; the National Gallery, London; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the National Gallery, Washington DC and the Art Institute of Chicago.[1] The identification of the present painting as a portrait of Anne-Marie Hagen was kindly made by Sophie Pietri of the Wildenstein Institute (communication of January 2013). [2] Marie Berhaut, Gustave Caillebotte: Catalogue Raisonné des Peintures et Pastels, Paris 1994, pp.84-85, no.49, illus. [3] Quoted in Kirk Varnedoe, Gustave Caillebotte, New Haven and London 1987, p.10.[4] London, Royal Academy, Gustave Caillebotte: the Unknown Impressionist, 1996, illus. p.176.[5] Varnedoe op. cit., p.197. [6] Berhaut op. cit., p.94, no.59, illus. Sold at Christie’s London in 2005. [7] Berhaut p.96, no.63, illus..[8] Berhaut p.181, no.287, illus. Sold Christie’s New York, 8th November 2012, lot 432.