Painting restoration of Gustave Caillebotte’s “Paris Street; Rainy Day”

Animated gif showing before and after of the restoration of Gustave Caillebotte's painting, "Paris Street; Rainy Day"

The Art Institute of Chicago recently “restored” Gustave Caillebotte’s painting, “Paris Street; Rainy Day” (1877)

The blue, oh man, the blue in Caillebotte's Rainy Day

Wow, the umbrellas are really blue now. They almost feel like alien hovercrafts. Perhaps Gustave Caillebotte was predicting an alien invasion on the streets of Paris.

Compare the before and after side-by-side:

before on the left, after on the right

What do you think of the restoration? Did it improve the artwork or make it worse? Or neither? Please leave your opinions in the comments.

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Sharon Graham
7 years ago

Based on the reproductions on this website, the “before” seems to have a moodier, “rainy day” atmosphere; the “after” seems a little flat. However, I’ve seen the original in person a few times (the last time was about 17 years ago in Los Angeles), and my memory of it is more like the restored version. This is my favorite painting of all time. When I see it in person I am emotionally affected. My friend says it must be because I was present in some capacity at the time of the painting.

unlikelymoose
7 years ago

The first thing I noticed in the restoration is the bright green light pole smack dab in the middle. It’s there for a purpose, but I feel it’s now distracting.
I’m not a fan of the slightly more vibrant colors. But if that’s how it was, then that’s how it was. I suppose the amount shading shown implies a certain degree of sun breaking through the rain clouds. So it makes sens to have the colors have more life. It IS always cool to see how light effects colors when the sun pokes through immediately after a thunderstorm. There’s a certain crispness.

Sylvie Mckay
6 years ago

I prefere the ‘before’ : the skies are more leaden as though there is more rain to come, the cracks in the cobblestones more discoloured as they would be , the colour of the umbrellas a less plastic blue, and of course the less intrusive green of the lamp pole (which surely would not have been so dominant tobegin with.) All of this gives that extra catch-to-the-heart mystery that those 19th century masterpieces have.

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