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Gustave Courbet Lot 15
Gustave Courbet (French, 1819-1877)
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Gustave Courbet (French, 1819-1877)

Remise de cerfs

Details
Gustave Courbet (French, 1819-1877)
Remise de cerfs
signed 'G. Courbet' (lower left)
oil on canvas
25 5/8 x 28 ¾ in. (65.1 x 73 cm.)
Painted circa 1868.
Provenance
Georges Moreau-Chaslon, Paris.
His sale; Hôtel Drouot, Paris 6 February 1882, lot 24, as: 'Interieur de forêt'.
Jean-Louis Dussol de Cette, Paris.
His sale; Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 17 March 1884, lot 30.
Julien Bessonneau, Angers.
His sale; Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 15 June 1954, lot 18.
with Wildenstein & Co, London.
Acquired from the above by Kyoichi Takado, Tokyo, 1970.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, New York, 2 May 2001, lot 112.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Literature
J.-L. Le Hir, Journal des Amateurs d'Objets d'Art et de Curiosité, 2nd, XXVI, 1882, p. 71.
S. Preston, 'Primitives and Sophisticates', in The New York Times, 28 July 1957 (illustrated).
R. Fernier, La vie et l'oeuvre de Gustave Courbet, catalogue raisonné, Lausanne and Paris, 1977, vol. II, pp. 64-5, no. 647 (illustrated).
P. Courthion, L'Opera completa di Courbet, Milan, 1985, p. 109, no. 626 (illustrated).
P. Courthion, Tout l'oeuvre peint de Courbet, Paris, 1987, p. 108, no. 626 (illustrated).
Exhibited
East Hampton, N.Y., Guild Hall, Trees in Art, 18 July-13 August 1957, no. 12.
Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Courbet and the Modern Landscape, 21 February-14 May 2006, no. 26, as: 'The Shelder of the Deer'; this exhibition later travelled to Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, 18 June-10 September 2006 and Baltimore, The Walters Art Museum, 15 October 2006-7 January 2007.
Special Notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Lot Essay

The changing seasons provided Gustave Courbet with a wide and diverse range of subjects for his landscape paintings with his winter landscapes standing out as the most memorable. Indeed, no 19th century artist captured the feeling of winter, evoking the cold, and the texture of snow and ice more successfully than Gustave Courbet. Throughout his career, the snowy terrain around Ornans served as the backdrop for many of his most well-known winter scenes. His passion for the subject was motivated in part by his attachment to his native Franche-Comté. He found great freedom in the unexplored territories of the Jura mountains and delighted in the mystery of the region’s undiscovered places.

As Castagnary described in his preface to the retrospective exhibition at the École des Beaux-Arts in 1882,‘[T]he landscape according to Courbet does not hand itself over easily. It uses its secrets, its metaphors, and its double meanings carefully, and remains, like the entire oeuvre, fundamentally open to interpretation.’(G. Courbet 2008 exh. cat 228 citing the preface to retrospective). In his beloved countryside Courbet painted crystalline, icy landscapes mostly devoid of any human presence, and when he introduced a living creature, it was usually a fox, a stag or a hunter tracking his prey (fig. 1).

In a snow covered forest, under a giant tree, a doe sits by her sleeping fawn under the watchful eye of an alert and powerful stag. Courbet first painted the subject in the cold winter of 1856-7, but it was only in the 1860s that he engaged more deeply with the theme, exploring snow and its textures in a series of paintings that would ultimately number eighty scenes, observed first in Franche-Comté and later, during the artist’s self-imposed exile, in The Alps. Courbet's forest visions evoke calmness and solitude, a personal glimpse into the habitat of a creature in his natural environment. Courbet himself a huntsman, with a passion that was enhanced by several hunting trips to German reserves, found peace in the forest. These snowy landscapes were among the favourites of collectors of Courbet's hunting genre paintings and gained him a particular reputation in the 1860's.

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