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Item 771 - Gustave Courbet Catalog 404 (Mar 2013)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Minimum Bid: $300.00
Sold Price: $16,491.60 (includes buyer's premium)


French painter (1819–1877) who led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting. ALS in French, one page both sides, 5.25 x 8, August 15, 1864. Letter to Dutch-Jewish painter Salomon Leonardus Verveer. In full (translated): “It seems that the priests, remembering the [painting] ‘Conference’ have taken their revenge and by the influence of the Empress [Eugenie] have succeeded in getting my painting for this year refused too, the women [his painting “Venus and Psyche”] which I am sending to you. I remember the action I took in Ghent, Brussels, and Antwerp in the revolution of the Liberals and Catholics. I learn by the newspapers that you are not losing ground. I compliment you. It is my right to think that this painting won’t meet with the same rebukes as at the Fine Arts Administration in Paris. As for the painting of the Burial [his monumental painting A Burial at Ornans], it is not possible to grant your wish despite my much wanting to do so and the honor you do me in asking for it. The frame is destroyed, the canvas stretcher has been used, and the canvas is rolled up and in poor condition due to the passage of time. I ordered my concierge to deliver the painting Venus and Psyche to you…Please let me know what will become of this painting which interests me greatly.” Intersecting folds, some light toning and soiling, mild show-through from writing on reverse, and a rusty paperclip mark to second integral page, otherwise fine condition. Courbet’s Retour de Conference and Venus and Psyche were both refused by the Salon in 1863 and 1864. Such an uproar came from these and other denied works, Napoleon III instituted the Salon des Refusés, containing a selection of the works that the Salon had rejected that year. Retour de Conférence, a piece showing drunken priests, was destroyed by a fanatic but survives in the photos Courbet had made. A wonderful letter between two artists referencing three of his best known works. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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