Boating on the Yerres (Périssoires sur l'Yerres)
Boating on the Yerres (Périssoires sur l'Yerres), 1877
Oil on canvas
40 3/4 × 61 3/8 in. (103.51 × 155.89 cm)
Gift of the Milwaukee Journal Company, in honor of Miss Faye McBeath M1965.25
Photo credit John R. Glembin
Gustave Caillebotte associated with Monet and Degas as an art student and, beginning in the mid-1870s, became one of the most steadfast, inventive, and supportive adherents of the Impressionist movement, exhibiting regularly with the two artists. Among his most impressive paintings are a series of seven boating scenes painted in 1877 and 1878 at his family estate along the Yerres River. This painting is one of the earliest and largest of his boating scenes. It depicts a group of sleek, one-main skiffs, known as périssoires, gliding through the quietest waters of the Yerres River. Almost two-thirds of the canvas is given over to the water, which is painted in a broad pattern of brightly colored horizontal brushstrokes. The three trees and their reflections help to stabilize the horizontal thrust of the composition to create an intellectually adjusted network of horizontals, verticals, and diagonals. This kind of subtly calculated interplay between surface and depth is characteristic of Caillebotte's finest paintings.
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