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               {A bit of humour}


Courbet as Rebel

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in the art world of Paris. His independentce brought him into conflict with Nieuwekerke in 1854 only a year before the International [EMPH mine] Exhibition in Paris. Nieuwekerke invited Courbet to lunch in an attempt to avoide embarrassement, hoping to bring Courbet into line: As soonas he saw me he threw himself at me, shook my hand and cried that he was delighted that I had accepted, that he wanted to deal openly with me and wasn't concelaing the fact that he'd come to convert me. [LOCAL NOTE 6: As per Patricia Mainardi, P.57, Art and Politics of the Second Empire: The Universal Expositions of 1855 and 1867 (New Haven and London, 1989). Milner notes: In 1861, Courbet explained that 'The basis of realism is a negation of the ideal, a negation towards which my studies have led me for fifteen years and which no artist has dared to affirm until now. ... Thought my affirmation of the negation of the ideal, I have arrived at the eamancipation of the individual and finally at democracy. Realism is esstentially the democratic art'. Les Précurseurs d'Anvers (Antwerp, 22 August 1861), cited in G. Mack Gustave Courbet (London, 1951), P. 89. [Back to REALISM page] [END LOCAL-NOTE-6] Courbet was not moved: 'He continued, telling me that the Government was unhappy to see me goingit alone, that it was necessary to moderate my views, to put some water in my wine, that the Governmeent wanted to help me, that I ought not to be so obstinate. [LOCAL NOTE 7: Mainardi, OpCit, P.57] Courbet was offered a commisssion with conditions attached which he rejected outfright in favour of his own private display. Even allowing for Courbet's re-telling of this event and allowing for a degree of tollerance on the state's side, Courbet was clearly a difficult case as he wished to retain independence outside the prevailing structure of patronage and oppurtunity. This alone marked him out as an aritst undermining the sytem and it made him newsworthy. His sheer avility, his ambtion as a painter, his arrogant self-confidnce and his friendship with the social theorist Proudhon made it clear that Courbet was powerfully subversvie and a danger to the cultural coherence of imperial Paris. This was indeed the basis of the realist approach as Courbet saw it. Working fom his own experience, with minimal referecne to convetnion, this self-confessed privincial painter challenged the whole framework of court patronage. In his own pavillion, bulit ajacent to the official International Exhibition, he displayed some of his largest and most ambitious works, incuding The Painter's Studio. A real allegory summing up seven years of my artistic life. [Oil on canvas, 359x598cm (12x20.5ft), 1855; signed and dated lower left '55 Courbet'. Musée d'Orsay, Paris (see map;)] [In] which a figure appears who is probably Napoléon III distinguished by his extraordinary moustache extended horizontially to end in fine points. He appears in the role of rat-catcher with none of the pomp of imperial grandeur. Courbt, in a word, rejected his authority and not merely in the arts. END BLOCK-QUOTE


Important works


A bit of humour

From: [
Realism Now, by Linda Nochlin] Courbet was accused of painting objects just as one might encounter them, without any compositional linkage, and of reducing art to the indiscriminate reproduction of the first subject to come along. "He makes his stones as important as his stone breakers", complained one outraged critic of the eponymous painting. Well, I should certainly hope so! As we all know eponoymouse can spread to all sorts of things if this sort of thing isn't sorted out and stopped here-to-with a-fore-foot.