A private photo collection at Caillebotte’s house in Yerres

Graciela Iturbide, “Heroes de la Patria”, Cuetzalan, Puebla, 1993

La Maison Caillebotte was inaugurated in Yerres, 20 kms South East of Paris in June 2017. It used to be the famous painter’s house and Valérie Dupont-Aignan, a lawyer by training,  has patiently redecorated it for the municipality. The result is superb and in the modern galleries, a collection of photographs belonging to Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla is shown until December 4th.

Karl Blossfeldt, Dryopteris filix, Wurmfarn (Common Male Fern), 1928

It is quite exceptional to walk into a photo show and to recognize most of the pictures. The Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla collection is the result of forty years of collecting by Sondra Gilman, a friend of Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe and her husband Cuban born, Celso. It is the product of a joint quest for repeated “coups de coeur” since both partners have to agree on buying any new piece. It now comprises 1 500 photographs from Eugène Atget (the first buy) to Cig Harvey.

Cig Harvey, The Pale Yellow Cadillac, Sadie, Portland Maine, 2010

There is no rule for acquisitions and the title of the exhibition “Beauty of Lines” is subjective. The project was instigated by Tatyana Franck at Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne (who has just had a little boy, Ulysses, with husband Alexis de Maud’huy) and Valérie Dupont Aignan in Yerres, who has known the couple for years. What is interesting in the show is that you feel like having shopped at Paris Photo for thirty years, and retained just the best pieces. I loved seeing Lisette Model, Walker Evans  and Nan Goldin’s photos again,  and discovering Thomas Struth’ “Salzmannstrasse” or Edward Burtynsky’s Urban renewal (Outside Shenzen).

Valérie Dupont-Aignan runs la Maison Caillebotte for the city of Yerres, with forceful charm

In a way this collection sums up the history of recent photography with Marc Riboud’s famous “Zazou, the Eiffel Tower painter” 1953, Walker Evans’ “Kitchen Wall, Alabama Farmstead”, 1936 and the lovely Helen Lewitt, “New York, Baby in a carriage” 1939. Nature and cities are both well represented and towards the end of the show, Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano hang together. Edward Weston’s “Cabbage leaf” is united to Imogen Cunningham‘s “Magnolia Blossom”.

Abelardo Morell, Book with Wavy Pages, 2001 © Abelardo Morell

With the visit of Caillebotte’s house afterwards, you will discover a 19 th century art de vivre which has been spectacularly recreated in the pretty family house. With a brother (Martial) musician and another one (Alfred)  who was the curate of Notre Dame de Lorette in Paris, Gustave became famous for his “Pont de l’Europe” (at Marmottan at the moment), “Les raboteurs de parquet” at Musée d’Orsay and “Rue de Paris en temps de pluie“, where he paints a group of umbrellas. He also painted the house in Yerres and the vegetable garden which can be visited in season. The park is open to everyone and has the attraction of a 19 th century garden.

Stéphane Couturier, Barendrecht n° 1, 2004

Make sure to spend an afternoon in Yerres, the countryside is beautiful and the charm of the place will get to your heart.

Maison Caillebotte, photo exhibition “La Beauté des Lignes” until December 4. It is a fifty minute drive from Paris or a short train ride from Gare de l’Est.

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