Caillebotte portrays his brother René in the family’s newly built apartment building in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. A work of plunging architectural perspective, exacting detail, and vibrant lighting, Gustave Caillebotte’s painting represented the latest in modern urban realism when it debuted.
Young Man at His Window also represents a pivotal moment in Caillebotte’s early career. He exhibited it to acclaim at the second Impressionist exhibition in 1876, when he was 27 years old. It was his public debut as a painter, and among his submissions, this painting received the most critical acclaim, after his famous The Floor Scrapers (1875; Musée d’Orsay, Paris).