Boat Moored on the Seine at Argenteuil
Oil on canvas (About 1884)
This vertically formatted marine depicts a sailboat with a blue and pink hull and white, furled-up sail moored on the Seine river in the Parisian suburb of Argenteuil. A grassy bank with thin tree branches occupies the foreground. The river Seine and sailboat dominate the middle ground, occupying about half of the composition. Low, nondescript white and yellow buildings and a smokestack occupy the opposite bank under a cloudless blue-gray sky. The painting’s surface is animated by short, rapidly applied, directional brushstrokes; thick areas of impasto are visible throughout, particularly in the boat’s scintillating reflections on the water. In addition to working as a leading Impressionist painter, Gustave Caillebotte developed a serious passion for sailing. He was not only a national sailing champion, but also one of France’s leading yacht designers. In this work, the subject is one of Caillebotte’s lightweight sailboats moored on the Seine in front of his home. Caillebotte devoted marked attention to capturing the brilliant reflection of light dancing on the water, rendered in thick strokes of white paint.