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Friday, March 29, 2013

Bonjour Monsieur Courbet

Gustave Courbet, La Rencontre
oil on canvas, 1854
Musée Fabre, Montpellier, FR
no copyright infringement intended

This painting is better known by its nickname, Bonjour Monsieur Courbet, being interpreted as Courbet (on his way to Montpellier) greeted by his patron Alfred Bruyas. The man behind Bruyas is his servant Calas. The artist had been invited by his patron at Montpellier and this work symbolized in a way their alliance.

The painting was firstly exposed in Paris, and art critics invented the nickname, alluding to the predominant position of Courbet in the composition. Actually if we examine the painting, Courbet appears as the interesting guy, kind of a mysterious Wandering Jew, while his patron is depicted in a salutation not far from an accolade. Naturally this didn't please Bruyas too much, however he bought the work and donated it to Musée Fabre in 1868.




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