(b. 1848, Paris, d. 1894, Gennevilliers)

Floor Scrapers

Oil on canvas, 102 x 147 cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Caillebotte was especially interested in light in the open, and fleeting impressions of a kind hitherto not considered proper subjects, while he was drawn thematically to human figures and aspects of urban life. His view of Impressionist realism was closest to that of Degas, however, he was also more open than the others to the world of hard physical work, and more emphatic in his willingness to take it as his subject.

Caillebotte painted two versions of the Floor Scrapers, exhibiting both at the second Impressionist show in 1876. It was work he had seen at his parents' home. This was an aspect of Courbet's and Millet's realism adapted to the Impressionist idiom. He emphasized effects of light, the action presented in the painting is that of a moment, and the composition uses novel, Japanese perspective.