Guestave Caillebote’s the Yerres, Effect of rain is an extraordinary oil painting with a unique use of colour, detail and brush strokes. Guestave painted the original art on his family’s property outside Paris in 1875, and the painting has a size of 80.3 by 59.1 centimetres. Its composition is a glimpse of a boat visible on the shores of the Yerres River. The Yerres, Effect of the rain may have had the influence of Japanese woodblock prints evidenced by its vertical format, the diagonal lines and the stylized pattern of the raindrop. Many artists have used this technique, which was available in France since the early nineteenth century. This painting is one of his many paintings about Yerres river that were inspired by his love for rowing and his childhood memories of the river.
Guestave’s first painting technique was unconventional with bold composition and image centering. Most of his early paintings had a view from above, but he later changed to his style to impressionist technique but did not abandon his former style. The Yerres effect of the rain has an impressionist view combined with a “subjective camera” effect. This effect appears in painting scenes where the painter views themselves as part of the action. The subjective camera effect was made possible by photography. Guestave may have been inspired to use this technique by his brother Martial, who was a fan of photography, and they shared a home.
Guestave’s boyhood experiences on the Yerres inspired his Yerres, Effect of rain painting. Caillebotte grew up near river Yerres as their family property was very close to the river. This painting is like a return to the days when he and his brothers spent their time rowing on the Yerres river. Caillebotte also had paintings that depicted city life, but this painting was his first country painting to focus on water as the central theme in the art. The Yerres, effect of the rain painting is also different from other Caillebotte’s paintings about river Yerres as it does not have any human figure.
Though Guestave’s work was as unique and special, it received a fair amount of criticism from people in his time. Some termed it as looking “hasty and unfinished”, but he had the advantage of being wealthy after inheriting his father’s property at the young age of twenty-six years. His financial ability enabled him to find talented artist friends and purchased some of their paintings. He is said to have saved impressionism by donating a collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings to the French nation. Some of the friends he worked with include Monet, Sisley, Renoir, Pissaro, and many more.