OIL PAINTING: On the Europe Bridge, 1876-1877
The Bridge of Europe and two other Paris scenes exhibited at the third Impressionist exhibition established Caillebotte as a painter of modern city life. He depicted a more sober, realist Paris than his fellow Impressionists, exposing the social ten- sions that underlay the industrial city and its new society. Six boulevards converged at the famous Bridge of Europe, a wonder of technology that straddled the rail yards of the Gare Saint-Lazare, one of Paris' major train stations. Here on the bridge is a moment from everyday life, juxtaposing two social classes that frequented the streets of the city. Leaning on the rail at the right is an artisan/laborer, while on the left, a man and woman of higher social stature walk toward us and gaze at each other.