Rower in a Top Hat Gustave Caillebotte Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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One of the most exquisite drawings by Gustave Caillebotte is the one with a rower in a top hat. Gustave has drawn a man, who seemingly looks like he is rough around the edges. This is because while the image is that of a human being, some of the features look as though they are of an animal, say a wolf, due his hairy face and hands.

He is dressed in a navy blue three-piece suit. However, he only has on him two pieces of the attire; the trouser and half coat. The long-sleeved jacket is set aside on his right-hand side, on the bench, he's seated on. The man in the portrait is seated in a boat, two oars in his hands. And while we can see that he is rowing the boat forward, he looks as though he is engrossed in some thoughts. He does not give the required attention to the task at hand.

Behind him, another boat is visible. In it are two men one back, and the other white. These two, unlike the first person, seemingly pay close attention to what they are doing. The white man is steering the boat forward, but he is facing the opposite direction from where he is headed. The other man in the boat observes as his companion roars the ahead. The river on which these men are traveling is calm, and we only see a section of it; the one that is not hidden by the bend. Trees and other vegetation are seen on either sides of the river.

This artist uses vivid contrast in this particular portrait. This is depicted in the type of colors used in the image. He uses two contrasting shades, one dark, and the other bright. The strokes used, therefore, are vivid and bold, unlike the soft ones he uses in his domestic portraits. In this portrait, Caillebotte used a piece of canvas as the board. For the coloring, he used oil paints, an aspect that is reflected in the shiny picture. However, he also used matte colors considering that some of the elements in his painting are somewhat dry, for instance, the main character in the portrait. Even though Gustave is a renowned artist, whose work is highly celebrated, he also found his inspiration from several other painters in his day like Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Alfred Sisley and Camille Pissarro among others.