Gustave Caillebotte – The Floor Scrapers

Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894 came from a very wealthy family, was an early supporter of the Impressionists and collected many of their works. He left those to the French people and gained a reputation as a collector. But he also was an important impressionist and realist painter in his own right.

His most famous  work is The Floor Scrapers (1875). The scene is the interior of his own Paris apartment, the scene of many of his paintings. But here there are three workmen stripping the varnish off the floor. They are stripped to the waist; their bodies look thin but muscular. The work seems a heavy drudgery; they are on their knees, their hands stretching before them. This contrasts with the delicacy of the wood shavings. A pale light enters the room reflecting off the floor not yet worked on. The perspective judged by the floor planks is superb.

Below are three stages of the painting, an original sketch, a more detailed study and the finished article; which hangs in the Musee D’Orsay in Paris.


As usual, better reproductions can be found in the Photo Album, scroll down.


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