Between 1877 and 1878, Gustave Caillebotte made a series of paintings focusing on swimmers, fishermen, rowers, and canoers at his family estate in Yerres. In Skiffs, which was exhibited at the fourth impressionist exhibition in 1879 under the name Pésissoires sur L’Yerres (Flat-Bottom Canoes on the Yerres), he adopted the short, broken brushstrokes of Monet and the bold palette of Renoir, but achieved a much different effect: as the rowers zig-zag across the canvas in a bold, diagonal rhythm, they convey a sense of movement, a progression of time and space that reveals Caillebotte’s interest in photography. An avid sailor and boat designer, Caillebotte—perhaps inspired by Japanese prints—adopted a dramatic viewpoint perched above the scene to emphasize the precariousness associated with the easily tipped, flat-bottomed skiffs.
- 88.9 x 116.2 cm (35 x 45 3/4 in.)
- Oil on canvas
- Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington
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