Gustave Caillebott is a great flower master. His still lifes or landscapes with flowers are just perfect. But interest in this genre of creativity awakens in it only in 1880, when he copies the “Red Chrysanthemums” to Monet! For artists such as Moneti Renoir, the image of flowers is attractive for two reasons.
Works of this type are attractive from an aesthetic point of view, to which the Impressionists are particularly sensitive. But first of all they are payable: they are popular with the public and sold well. After all, as Gloria Grum points out, “it really is about a picture of nature, but nature, newly created and improved by the sensory impressions that the artist can convey.
Still lifes, objects of exhibitions and trade transactions require the same descriptive language as the objects on which they are created. A still-life with fruit is considered successful if it conveys well their freshness or ripeness… In a word, aesthetic values [for artists] are associated with material benefits. “
Caybott has an additional role played by another factor: the love of working in the garden surrounding his house in Petit Zheneviye. This occupation at the end of life attracts him more and more. Spending a lot of time outside of Paris, he gradually leaves an image of urban landscapes and pays attention to the surrounding nature. A good example of this evolution is the picture “Sunflowers, a garden in Petit Zhenneviye”. The field of sunflowers obscures – literally and in a symbolic sense – the view of the city.
The artist creates the effect of distance, applying the same method of different proportions of individual motifs, which he already used in his previous works. Enlarged to giant sizes, flowers make homes seem very distant. The texture of the canvas is perfect, and the sunflowers are transferred with academic precision. The lighting effects are consistent with the coloristic effects: the green color of the leaves, changing from light to saturated, perfectly integrates with the same wide gamut of yellow on the petals of sunflowers.