Gustave Cariot (1872-1953) was a French Pointillist and Post-Impressionist artist born at Périgny-sur-Yerres near Paris. He grew up in the Marais area of Paris, a district where artists and small merchants flourished. His father was a luggage-maker and encouraged Cariot to become his apprentice but the young Cariot insisted on pursuing an artistic career. As a youth, he dedicated his spare time to drawing and sketching various views of the city and countryside surrounding Paris.
Largely self taught, Cariot became a celebrated Post-Impressionist painter. Cariot was also particularly interested in the techniques of the Pointillists and Divisionists, showing an awareness of both brushstrokes and colour theory to his work. Inspired by Claude Monet’s ‘series paintings’ of haystacks and Rouen Cathedral of the 1890s, Cariot was fascinated by the fluctuations of light and colour brought about by the changing seasons.
Cariot studied the effects of changing light and painted several series of works showing Paris and the French or German countryside at different hours of the day and in different seasons. He devoted two series of paintings to exploring this theme. Entitled ‘Le Poème des Saisons’, with each picture representing a different month, these paintings were exhibited together at the 1903 Salon des Indépendants. It was there, as the artist’s correspondence reveals, that these pictures would catch the eye of two of the most important collectors of the time, Serguei Dmitrievitch Cheremeteff and Armand Cabrol, leading to a surge in his popularity.
In 1909 Cariot exhibited with "La Société Moderne", a group set up by his friend and fellow painter Emmanuel de la Villéon. This group of artists exhibited at the Galeries Durand-Ruel in Paris. Cariot went on to join the Société des Artistes Independants and exhibited in major Parisian exhibitions. In addition to showing with the Salon Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Cariot participated in the Salon d'Automne and the Salon d'Hiver.
After World War I, Cariot spent most of his time in Germany, and often returned to France in the autumn and winter. He was to become a celebrated Post-Impressionist painter whose work is gaining importance with every passing year.