Exhibitions: Gustave Caillebotte: Impressionist Paintings from Paris to the Sea

Gustave Caillebotte: Cliffs in Normandy

Gustave Caillebotte (French, 1848–1894). Cliffs in Normandy, 1880. Oil on canvas, 28 3/4 x 23 5/8 in. (73 x 60 cm). Private collection

Although most of Caillebotte’s Norman scenes offer an elevated vantage point, here he positions himself at beach level below the northern coast’s monumental cliffs. The artist uses a varied palette of warm ocher, rose, and salmon tones to capture the horizontal striations of the rock formations, as well as cooler greens, violets, and blues to paint the wild vegetation, the shadows cast by the gray cloud-filled sky, and the picturesque waterfall rushing from the brow of the cliff at the upper right. Close inspection of the surface of this canvas reveals grains of sand mixed into the paint, underscoring the artist’s practice of working in the open air—in this case, on the shore.