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    Sale 5404

    Nineteenth Century European Art

    19 March 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 55

    Gustave Courbet (French, 1819-1877)

    Portrait of a man

    Price Realised  


    Gustave Courbet (French, 1819-1877)
    Portrait of a man
    signed, inscribed and dated 'A mon viel ami Anatole G. Courbet 65.'(lower right)
    pencil on paper
    9¼ x 7¾ in. (23.5 x 19.5 cm.)

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    One of the most influential figures in French painting, Courbet is best known for his innovative painting style, covering controversial subjects. His work, along with those of Honore Daumier and Jean-François Millet, became known as Realism, representing a break from the conventional Romantic and Neo-classical schools. Courbet moved away from the perfection of line and form praised by the Academy. His works display a spontaneous and rough handling of the paint, establishing a closer engagement with the subject. This results in a "true" depiction of nature, including all its irregularities. The present work is an example of this approach to portraiture, in which the subject is depicted without embelishment or idealization, but rather simply as he would have been. The present work, endearingly inscribed 'To my old friend Anatole' could even be of the sitter. This sketch also represents Courbet's interest in depicting the working classes, in an ideal attempt to erase social contradiction and injustice through painting.
    Courbet's works can be found in some of the world's most important museums, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hermitage Museum, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco and the Metroplitan Museum of Art.

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    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    with The Lefevre Gallery, London.