Creating a Scene to Make an Impression: How Gustave Caillebotte and His Street Scenes of Haussmannian Modernity Support Impressionism Without Subscription

Senior Thesis


This paper reveals how Caillebotte participated in, yet also set himself apart from the Impressionist movement. While Caillebotte included his own works in the Impressionist Exhibitions, his style does not completely align with typical Impressionist approaches: he celebrates Haussmannian architecture, which the older members avoided, because he was too young to know medieval Paris; he paints with calculated brushstrokes, a result of his Academic training at the École des Beaux-Arts; and he utilizes photography, a recent technological development, to capture exact details for his preparatory drawings. I propose a new way of looking at Caillebotte’s street scenes and suggest the recognition of sub-scenes within these works. Caillebotte uses a subtle compositional prop to vertically divide his paintings in half, a device that, in conjunction with the flaneur’s gaze, allows him to accommodate separate yet simultaneous depictions of the built environment and the motion of everyday human activity.


Attribute NameValues
Created by
  • Isabel Cabezas

Created on
  • 2017-05-08

  • Professor Dennis Doordan

  • Impressionism

  • Art History

  • France

  • Haussmannization

  • Gustave Caillebotte

  • Realism

  • Photography

  • Flâneur

  • Paris

  • Charles Baudelaire

  • English

  • University of Notre Dame

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