In one of his most noteworthy paintings, “Raboteurs de Parquet” (“The Floor Scrapers”), French artist Gustave Caillebotte realistically characterized 19th-century urban life. This scene of three shirtless workers stripping varnish from the floor of Caillebotte’s (1848 – 1894) apartment was considered so shocking, it was barred from exhibition at Paris’ Salon, which also rejected images of all workers other than peasants. This piece may have been Caillebotte’s social commentary to the upper class that their magnificent varnished floors were the result of hours of exhausting work.
French artist Gustave Caillebotte (1848 -1894) painted fascinating scenes of everyday Parisian life in a style melding Realism and Impressionism. Caillebotte left an engineering career after being greatly inspired by the renowned Impressionists he met at art school. His style was more realistic than the work of his fellow artists, incorporating muted colors, tight forms and photographic angles. Although he was banned from exhibiting his first painting, 40 of Caillebotte’s 500 artworks are now featured in Paris’ Musee d’Orsay.