La Leçon de piano
toile (peinture à l’huile) H. 81 cm ; l. 65 cm (sans cadre) ; H. 103,2 cm ; l. 87 cm ; E. 5,5 cm ; VOLUM. 0,0494 (avec cadre)
legs Monet Michel (testateur) (1966 acquis)
Born into the bourgeoisie, Caillebotte, like Berthe Morisot, liked to depict his milieu. In the early 1880s, he painted several interiors showing these affluent members of society at their daily activities. As the title indicates here, this study shows music. It is one of only two genre scenes by the artist to feature women. Seen from behind, the two female protagonists are sitting at an upright piano. On the right is the teacher, whom we recognize by her modest clothing and her raised hand, marking the beat. Her pupil, on the left, wears an elegant feathered hat. This picture illustrates what at the time was a very popular leisure activity for women of the affluent classes, one also illustrated by Renoir in the years that followed. In contrast to the careful, highly finished quality of most of his paintings, here Caillebotte chooses a framing and a palette that are more Impressionist. The two women fill nearly the entire space, which is treated in broad strokes of shimmering color. Although the models and the interior have not been identified, we can assume that this work must have meant something particular to Monet, who received it as gift from Caillebotte and kept it close all his life.