caillebotte – painter and gardener

by Sharon Santoni

painting of french village square

If you are coming to Normandy this summer and plan a stop at Giverny, then I urge you to step into the Impressionist museum to admire the exhibition of paintings by Gustave Caillebotte, painter and gardener



Sadly he died at a very young age, but during his short life he was close friends with Claude Monet, with whom he shared a love of gardening as well as a passion for painting.  There are records of their correspondence, where they discuss watering systems for their respective gardens, or the merits of a greenhouse.  Very practical details that illustrate their love of the garden.


In the exhibition I was beguiled by his beautiful flowers , mostly painted in his house at Petit Gennevilliers, but also by his surprisingly modern renderings of daily life in Paris.   He captured moments of ordinary life, often from an overhead point of view, such as the pavement scene no doubt observed from a balcony.



As well as his talent for art and for horticulture, he also had the reputation  of being a very kind and generous man, and his gentle colour palette seems to reflect that very well

As we visited Giverny this afternoon, it was pouring with rain, the vegetation all around was lush and green,  and this beautiful exhibition provided the perfect refuge, and seemed to fit seamlessly with the lush gardens outside.

white wisteria in garden

And you may be interested to know that the museum wishes to purchase one of Caillebotte’s unfinished works, ‘Parterre de Marguerites’.   This painting is actually four canvases, originally intended for the artist’s own dining room, and it would make a wonderful addition to the museum’s permanent collection.

detail of flower painting

If you think you would like to make a contribution to this purchase, you can read more about the project HERE



Susan May 23, 2016 - 1:00 am

Thank you for sharing this artist’s work. I don’t believe I’ve seen his paintings before. They are so lovely.

sharon santoni May 24, 2016 - 12:21 am

I knew very little too Susan, this museum often puts on shows that grab my attention


Christine Sweeney May 23, 2016 - 1:03 am

Hello Sharon,
I have been reading your beautiful blog for some time, without comment. …shame on me.
I look forward to seeing your name pop up on my in box! Last year, April in Paris was beyond beyond. the weather was stellar! gorgeous sunny and blue. I came to Paris from California with my daughter and four of her amazing friends; mine too but in her age group! We were celebrating my birthday, so one of my choices was to be at Monet’s home and walk in his gardens. Pure bliss! After our happy awe in the gardens, we took your advice, your recommendation via your blog and walked to Jardin la Plume for lunch. Thank you!
The six of us spent an amazing five hours at table in the garden, ate wonderful food, and drank all the Sancere in the house! We were treated beautifully by your friend, the owner of the hotel and restaurant, and she graciously ” judged” our paintings of Monet’s gardens! Such a beautiful time, memorable and cherished. Perhaps we will return soon; would love to meet you! Take you to Lunch and shop for beautiful antiques. Such a beautiful connection to our beloved France.

sharon santoni May 24, 2016 - 12:23 am

Hi Christine, thank you for sharing this happy memory, I’m so glad that you enjoyed Plume, it is a great place for lunch.
No shame on you for not commenting before, but I’m glad you chose to speak up this time!


Judi May 23, 2016 - 1:03 am

Oh, I adore Caillebotte! These are wonderful paintings you’ve shared. I so wish I could come back to France again. I’ve been to Monet’s Gardens three times and it is always wonderful. Thank you for this notice of Caillebotte ‘s exhibit – you have my traveling cells firing!

Lorraine Wafer May 23, 2016 - 1:04 am

Thank you Sharon. He was indeed a very talented and often overlooked artist. The painting with the Monet garden wisteria is so beautiful. There is indeed a gentleness and softness in his art. Impressionism is my favourite. Was the White wisteria still in bloom when you visited? We visited in September 2011 and hope to go back next year in May.
I so enjoy waking to your email here in Australia.

sharon santoni May 24, 2016 - 12:25 am

HI Lorraine

May would be a great time to visit, the countryside is at its best and at Giverny you get the peonies and irises:


Sandy w May 23, 2016 - 1:06 am

Oh, we are in Paris right now, and I had hoped to try and go back to Giverny while we were here. Today would have been the day we would go, but because of various reasons, we decided to stay in Paris and do this visit another trip. My husband had never been to Paris before, so thought he might enjoy some of sights around here for his first time. I told him we would have to come back again to go to Versailles and Giverny. I loved it so much about 15 years ago when I went. How fun it would have been to be there today while you were there.

Grace Hoffman May 23, 2016 - 1:18 am

This just gets me all the more excited for our visit there VERY SOON! Can’t wait to meet you there.

sharon santoni May 24, 2016 - 12:26 am

looking forward to it Grace
best wishes to you all


Linda Quast May 23, 2016 - 2:16 am

We visited Monet’s gardens and the village of Giverny last June on a glorious warm summer day. We loved our experience in the gardens and a short time to explore the village. We have agreed that another visit is a must. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos.


Jeanie May 23, 2016 - 3:06 am

Thank you for sharing this lovely artist with us, Sharon. Giverny is one of my favorite places to visit in France, and I can’t wait to go there again.

Kathryn Gauci May 23, 2016 - 3:07 am

Fantastic. He is a favourite of mine. He captures the light so well.

pam May 23, 2016 - 3:26 am

So beautiful. Thank you.

pamela May 23, 2016 - 3:42 am

Thank you for sharing the works of this artist, his paintings are awesome.

Sandra May 23, 2016 - 4:12 am

I, too, am a big admirer of Caillebotte. He recently has been receiving the attention he deserves. There was a major exhibit of his work in Washington, DC and Ft. Worth last year, including the wonderful “Floor Scrapers”.

I visited his home in Yerres in 2013 (about 90 minutes south of Paris) for a wonderful multimedia expo.

I recently relocated to Chicago where his masterpiece, Rainy Day in Paris, also resides 🙂

Judi May 23, 2016 - 6:12 pm

I think “The Floor Scrapers” has been one my most favorite paintings for many years. I’m glad it was still at D’Orsay when we were there last year! Rainy Day in Chicago is another favorite, too. You’re lucky to be in Chicago with that fabulous museum!! Judi

Lorrie May 23, 2016 - 7:12 am

Oh, thank you for this, Sharon. We will be in Giverny in early July and I’m so looking forward to it. I hope we can arrange to go to the museum, too. We’ll be on an Avalon cruise and I’m not certain how much time we will be there.

Cath May 23, 2016 - 8:46 am

Nice sharing and Giverny is to see and review . Thank you Sharon.
Have a good day. Cath

Taste of France May 23, 2016 - 9:25 am

I always think of Caillebotte for his paintings of Paris, like “Paris Street, Rainy Day” and “Boulevard des Italiens.” It’s fun to discover the gardening side. I love those pictures from the perspective of looking out an upper-floor window.

Our French Oasis May 23, 2016 - 9:45 am

I have always been a huge fan of Impressionism, particularly Berthe Morisot who was the wife of Eugene Manet, the younger brother of the far better known Edouard Manet.
My favourite painting of hers is one she did whilst on honeymoon in Cowes on the Isle of Wight of her husband Eugene looking out of their cottage window. There is so much detail I could look at it for hours, always seeing something new. However, I am not so familiar with Caillebotte, although I do love Paris Street, Rainy Day, probably his best known piece and one any follower of the Impressionists will know. Lucky you being so close to the museum, quite envious! Susan x

noreen May 23, 2016 - 10:15 am

that was a lovely encounter!

Cécile May 23, 2016 - 11:47 am

I just LOVE this painter! Thank you for the tip, have a nice day!

Kiki May 23, 2016 - 2:22 pm

love your post, love Giverny (have been many times) and adore Caillebotte…. So you got it all covered in one. Many thanks – also fondly remember all the lunches we had in the surrounding garden restos, as well as the amazing village. Can’t praise the gardens high enough – there is ALWAYS so much to see and M’s house is so pretty, stuffed (with treasures) and wonderful. Even a rainy day can’t spoil the pleasure.

Kiki May 23, 2016 - 2:31 pm

Terrific news: The acquisition of the marguerites is already over-subscribed…. 🙂 It wasn’t that dear either – and I just meant to contribute a very modest bit; and found that the subscription is closed since May 21st. GREAT!!!! So look forward to seeing his ‘carpet of marguerites’ soon for good….

sharon santoni May 24, 2016 - 12:28 am

that means that they topped the amount the day I was there! this is great news, it seems fitting that this charming painting should come to live at Giverny

thank you for letting me know Kiki


AFN May 23, 2016 - 4:10 pm

Love France. Fabulous post. Oh to be back. Would love to be there.

Vicki May 23, 2016 - 7:33 pm

What beautiful paintings! A great artist. Too bad he isn’t as well known as Monet and Renoir.

Vicky from Athens May 23, 2016 - 9:39 pm

What beautiful art! Thanks so much!!

Susan Carter May 24, 2016 - 3:09 am

Several years ago I saw an exhibition of his along with his brothers photographic work at Musee Jaquemart Andre. I had never heard of him before but loved his work and especially loved the exhibition where both used the same subject – it was fascinating to see the photograph and the painting next to each other.

Marian from England May 24, 2016 - 7:12 pm

Hi Sharon. We are visiting Giverny and Monet’s garden for the very first time this July, so thank you for this info, we shall try and visit it. I was not familiar with Caillebotte but having looked at his paintings, I really like them. So, I’ve learned something today! As my husband says, ‘every day’s a school day!!’

ROXANE LACROIX May 25, 2016 - 2:22 pm

We enjoyed visiting this museum and their beautiful gardens very much when we in Giverny. Would love to go back and see Monet’s gardens again!

Patricia Gilbert May 31, 2016 - 7:25 pm

One of my favorite painters and so often overlooked! I will try to get to Giverny when I am in France this summer.


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