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Getty Museum's Newest Addition: A French Impressionist's Work Of 'Urban Realism'

"Young Man at His Window." It shows a man in a black suit facing a window overlooking the town in a vividly realistic painting, with an orange armchair behind him, his reflection in the glass, carriages and a smattering of people in the street below.
"Jeune homme à sa fenêtre" ("Young Man at His Window"), from 1876, arrives at the Getty next year.
(Gustave Caillebotte
via Wikipedia/Public Domain)
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“Young Man at His Window” by Gustave Caillebotte is simple — it’s just a young Parisian in a dark suit looking out his window at a girl on the street.

When Émile Zola saw it, he said Caillebotte had good technique — but the painting was “pitiful” and “anti-artistic” because it was too realistic. Which is exactly why it’s famous today: at first glance, you might think it’s a photo.

Getty Museum director Timothy Potts calls it “sharp-edged … urban realism” and says the way it contrasts with artists like Monet and Renoir will help the museum show a “fuller picture of the art associated with the impressionist movement.”

"Young Man at His Window" sold for $53 million Thursday at Christie's. It was part of a large lot from the estate of a Texas oil baron. It goes on display at the Getty sometime next year.

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