From the wires:
Collector and philanthropist Iris Cantor announced the donation of Femme nue étendue sur un divan (1873) by French Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte as a promised gift to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, as a tribute to Philippe de Montebello, the Museum’s Director Emeritus, who served as the institution’s Director from 1977 through December 2008.
Nearly four years ago, when visiting Mrs. Cantor, Mr. de Montebello expressed interest in the painting in Mrs. Cantor’s collection. In honor of his 31 years of leadership at the Metropolitan, Mrs. Cantor announced the promised gift at his recent retirement dinner.
Femme nue étendue sur un divan is believed to be the earliest dated work by Caillebotte and differs from much of his later work. “The suaveness of the treatment of flesh and cloth here, and especially the artist’s attraction to the satiny sheet of the striped drape, remind us that at the outset of his career – in instances such as the wet-and-dry wood floor and curled shavings in Raboteurs de parquet – Caillebotte was attracted not only to linear structure but simultaneously to the subtle discrimination of shifting plays of interior light on surfaces. With the adoption of a more boldly brushed technique inspired by the work of Manet, Monet, and Renoir, he eventually sacrificed something of this latter aspect, and not without loss for the personal character of his work,” wrote Kirk Varnedoe, the late art historian and noted curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the first Cantor Fellow at Stanford University.