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Art at the barricades

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Art at the barricades Courbet and Proudhon, the trajectory of an asymmetrical relationship
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O'Connell, Richard Vincent
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 122-125).
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Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
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by Richard Vincent O'Connell.

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University of Colorado Denver
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A
ART AT THE BARRICADES: COURBET AND PROUDHON, THE
TRAJECTORY OF AN ASYMMETRICAL RELATIONSHIP
by
Richard Vincent OConnell
B.A., California State University, Northridge, 1975
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Humanities
2011


2011 by Richard Vincent OConnell
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Master of Humanities
degree by Richard Vincent OConnell
has been approved by
/ C\
KAff'MphyrrA h] A
Margaret Woodhull
2


OConnell, Richard Vincent (MH Humanities)
Art at the Barricades: Courbet and Proudhon, the Trajectory of an Asymmetrical
Relationship
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Margaret Woodhull
ABSTRACT
Nineteenth century French painter Gustave Courbet was instrumental in the founding
of the modern Realist school of painting and created great art in his youth, his larger-
than-life manifesto paintings being regarded as the earliest socialist art. Over the
course of his career he came to be powerfully influenced by anarchist philosopher
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, whom he greatly admired. Driven by this influence, Courbet
changed from an artist totally consumed by his work, to a politically active
revolutionary, which culminated in his actions during the revolt of the Paris
Commune in 1871, followed by trial, imprisonment and exile. Utilizing extensive
archival research of Courbets writings, this thesis argues that his relationship with
Proudhon was instrumental in this change. The Courbet-Proudhon relationship was
characterized by asymmetry of power and emulation of Proudhon by Courbet.
Courbet, as a devotee of a man who distained intimacy, attempted to create a personal
relationship which Proudhon would not allow. Detailed analysis of Courbets


correspondence, compared with that of Proudhon, clarifies the nature of their
association and suggests a new interpretation of it, that it was not the generally
portrayed, close, socially intimate one of personal friends, but one of distant prophet
and spumed acolyte.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.
Signed
Margaret Woodhull


DEDICATION
This thesis is dedicated to Leta Mae, my wife and my muse, who has constantly, and
in every way, supported my efforts in this project.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT
A debt of gratitude is owed to Dr. Chad Kautzer who first introduced me to graduate
study at U.C.D. and who constantly encouraged my work, to Dr. Gabriel Finkelstein
who consistently aided me in refining my ideas and balancing my perspective, and to
my advisor and Committee Chair, Dr. Margaret Woodhull, who never stopped
teaching me how to write a good academic paper.
Appreciation is also owed to Dr. Rick Turley of Colorado State University, Fort
Collins, Colorado, and Mr. Steve Jensen, Chief Deputy District Attorney, First
Judicial District, Jefferson and Gilpin Counties, Colorado; without their kind
recommendations, none of this would have been possible.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Figures...............................................x
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION.......................................1
2. THE DISCOURSE OF REVOLUTION IN
ART AND LITERATURE...................................8
Courbet and the Socialists....................16
3. COURBET THE MAN, HIS ART AND
HIS ACTIONS, 1848/1853..............................21
The Man........................................22
The Art........................................28
The Actions....................................34
4. COURBET THE MAN, HIS ART AND
HIS ACTIONS, 1854/1877..............................43
The Man........................................44
The Art........................................48
The Actions....................................59
5. COURBET AND PROUDHON ASYMMETRY
AND EMULATION.......................................86
The New Translation............................88
The Sittings That Never Happened...............92
viii


Asymmetrical Writings and
Unaccepted invitations............................97
From Personal Missives to Public
Manifestos the Emulation Begins................101
The Antwerp Conference...........................105
From Being His Own Government
to Being Le Representant du Peuple...............109
6. CONCLUSIONS COURBET, THE MYTH
AND THE MAN...........................................114
APPENDIX A.....................................................120
WORKS CONSULTED................................................122
IX


LIST OF FIGURES
Fig. 1: Rue Soufflot, Juin 1848, Horace Vernet, 1848....................19
Fig. 2: La Barricade, Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier, 1848................20
Fig. 3: The Stonebreakers, Gustave Courbet, 1849........................29
Fig. 4: Burial at Ornans, Gustave Courbet, 1849/50......................31
Fig. 5: The Peasants of Flagey Returning from the Fair,
Gustave Courbet, 1850............................................33
Fig. 6: Caricature of Courbet in Lefils de Pere Duchene..................45
Fig. 7: Caricature of Courbet in Souvenirs de La Commune.................45
Fig. 8: Nadar photo of Proudhon, circa mid 1850s.........................46
Fig. 9: Jules Gremaud photo, 1876........................................82
Fig. 10: Portrait of Regis Courbet, Gustave Courbet, 1874...............84
Fig. 11: Self Portrait at Sainte Pelagie,
Gustave Courbet, 1871/72.........................................85
Fig 12: The Studio, Gustave Courbet, 1855...............................94
Fig 13: Portrait of Proudhon, Gustave Courbet, 1865.....................95
Fig 14: Proudhon and His Family, Gustave Courbet, 1865..................97
x


CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
This revolution is all the more just as it originates with the people. Its apostles are
workers, its Christ was Proudhon. The sage of his time and the man of genius.
He is the only man who stood both for my country and for what I think.1 2 3
Gustave Courbet, 1865
Visited the Courbet exposition. An artist of great talent, but lacking, I think, true
genius, and with too much self-admiration.4 (1855) Courbet is in anguish.. .He
assassinates me with letters of eight pages you know how he writes, how he
wrangles!5 (1863)
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
It takes only a careful juxtaposition of two disparate sets of nineteenth century
writings to have reason to doubt the canonical tale of a close, personal friendship
between French artist Gustave Courbet and the anarchist philosopher Pierre-Joseph
1 Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, trans., ed., The Letters of Gustave Courbet
(Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 409. In a review of this work
by Timothy Raser of the University of Georgia which was published in The French
Review he characterizes this volume as the reference work for Courbet scholars for
years to come and an invaluable reference-work for the Courbet scholar. This
translation of 571 of Courbets letters, some previously unpublished, provided the
basic primary material for this thesis, as is reflected in the quantity of citations.
2 Chu, The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 256.
3 Ibid, 260.
4 Alan Bowness, Courbets Proudhon, The Burlington Magazine 120, no. 900 (Mar.
1978): 124. Bowness makes numerous observations regarding the Courbet-Proudhon
relationship and characterizes it as not being the close friendship which it is often said
to have been. This thesis is significantly informed and inspired by Bowness work.
5 George Woodcock, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work (New York:
Schocken, 1972), 257.
1


Proudhon. A tale of the mutual affection and length of their relationship has been
created through books and journal articles dedicated to each of these figures such that
it has become a commonplace among art historians,6 and has been maintained by
Proudhon biographer George Woodcock, art historian James Henry Rubin, and even
the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as late as 2008. Yet, a differing perspective can be
offered, for a review of their respective correspondence indicates little of such
reciprocity between the two men.
There is no question that Proudhon significantly influenced Courbet. However,
the relationship was that of remote visionary and committed acolyte, not that of close,
personal friends. This paper will analyze the extent to which Courbets artwork
reflects his socio/political commitment at a time of revolution. More specifically, it
will consider to what extent Courbets dedication to what he understood to be the
political and artistic philosophy of Proudhon undermined his dedication to his art,
resulting in what some scholars identify as a deterioration of the quality of his work
as his life became a caricature of political engagement.
Most importantly, this study will dispute the myth that the Courbet-Proudhon
relationship was close and mutually fulfilling and will show that the Courbet-
Proudhon relationship was essentially an asymmetrical power relationship in which
Courbet was an impassioned and dedicated disciple of a distant and reserved man
who did not desire to have such a relationship. Proudhon was recognized by his
6 For recapitulations of this general theme see Metropolitan Museum of Art (2008)
432, Rubin (1980) xv, 17, Woodcock (1972) 257.
2


contemporary, the utopian Socialist Victor Considerant,* as that strange man who
was determined that none should share his views.7 The result of this association was
that Courbet came to emulate his heros activities, taking positions and engaging in
actions which he was ill equipped to handle.
Courbet attempted to become an intimate of a man who disdained intimacy, a man
who, while an admirer of the artists work, particularly that which Proudhon
considered to be socialist, seemed to distance himself from Courbet at every
opportunity. During the revolutionary year of 1848 and immediately thereafter
Proudhon published inflammatory essays, served in public office as a socialist, and
made himself a public enemy. Meanwhile, also in 1848, Courbet announced that he
was too busy painting to involve himself in politics8 and that he had little interest in
the political world.
A little over twenty years later, during the Commune days of 1871, Courbet
published his own public letters, served in public office, and also made himself into a
public enemy. For Courbet, political action replaced revolutionary art. His work
turned to society portraits and derivative landscapes, the marketability of which was
far greater than that of socialist art. He bragged repeatedly in letters to his family that
his backlog of commissions was growing to be almost unmanageable. His art became
commercial, his politics, radical.
The focus of this research is on primary materials, including correspondence,
paintings, photographs and caricatures. The first two chapters will set the scene in
-j
Woodcock, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 60.
o
Chu, The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 77.
3


mid nineteenth century France, discussing the socialist writings of the day and
contrasting the views of Proudhon with those of Marx (the two men being exemplars
of their respective positions, centralist and decentralist) and also addressing their
perspectives on each other. Chapters three and four tell the story of Courbets artistic
and political trajectory, bringing to light the man, his art, and his public statements.
Each of these chapters also includes brief biographical material on Proudhon intended
to familiarize the reader with his life during the years in question. In chapter three we
will see that Courbet created his greatest works, those that appear in art history
classes up to this day, during the years prior to 1853. During those years, his interest
in political office and overt activism was minimal and his interest in socialist art
dominated his life. His revolutionary zeal was, from birth, emotional rather than
intellectual.9 As noted by Camille Lemonnier in 1878, Courbet was an instinct more
than a brain.10 Chapter four will discuss the changes that took place for Courbet in
the years between 1853 and his death in 1877, including his political radicalization,
his published statements, his running for political office, and finally his activities
during the uprising of the Paris Commune of 1871. Here we will also discuss
whether or not the fact that Courbets political positions were left wing accorded him
different treatment from that accorded to other artists who maintained more
conservative positions. Evidence points to the fact that Courbet was not
9 Courbet was neither educated formally nor was he an autodidact. By comparison,
others referenced in this thesis had educational credentials or were powerfully self-
educated. Marx held a PhD., Baudelaire studied law and held a baccalaureate,
Castagnary and Chaudey were attorneys, and Proudhon was renowned for his self-
taught mastery of theology and multiple languages.
10 Jeannene M. Przyblyski, Courbet, the Commune, and the Meanings of Still Life in
1871, Art Journal 55, no. 2 (1996): 35.
4


representative of the French artists and writers of the day who largely took more
moderate, republican perspectives. We will also consider other possible reasons for
the changes in his work, such as market influences and ageing. The fifth chapter will
draw examples from the narrative chapters of the work to explicate in detail the thesis
of asymmetry and emulation in the relationship between Courbet and Proudhon.
There are three clear aspects of Courbets life which are descriptive of asymmetry
and three more which are indicative of the emulation. Finally, chapter six will draw
conclusions based on the information explored in the body of the work.
The key themes are based on Courbets correspondence and that presents an issue
for the researcher. In this thesis we will take particular care in conducting research of
Courbets letters, because so much of what he writes is exaggeration and hyperbole,
in his own opinion, everyone agrees that I am the foremost man in France.11
Although the researcher makes a conscious effort to maximize objectivity, pure
objectivity is not possible, and simply taking Courbets words at face value is
disingenuous. This thesis is informed to a large extent with respect to methodology
by the work of Keith Jenkins whose Rethinking History points out the pitfalls of the
historian bringing his or her own viewpoint and predilections12 into the analysis.
Care must be taken in the framing of the relevant issues. Although this thesis deals
essentially with primary materials such as personal letters, this research will bear in
mind the fact that, although contemporary letters are absent later-day interpretation
and opinion, even the selection of the materials themselves can betray objectivity.
11 Chu, The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 382.
12
Keith Jenkins, Rethinking History (Abington/New York: Routledge Classics,
2003), 15.
5


This caveat is even more important in consideration of the fact that some of his more
articulate letters were either edited or actually written by literary friends like
Baudelaire*13 or Max Buchon.*14
There is another significant methodological consideration. An important
analytical tool which is included in this research has largely been ignored in the
existing literature. This research contains a quantitative analysis of Courbets
correspondence as well as a qualitative one. Accordingly, this thesis addresses three
key elements in Courbets correspondence. The first qualitative component is a
consideration of what he says, putting his words into context with respect to the
recipient of the letter, the time at which it was written, and what was going on in
Courbets life when he wrote it. The second, equally important qualitative element is
that which Courbet did not say. Omissions can sometimes be as germane as
inclusions. As important as it is to note what Courbet says, it is equally important to
take note of what he does not say. In some instances the silence speaks volumes as
will be explored in chapter four. The third analytical element is the quantitative. In
this element we take notice of the quantity of letters written to certain people at
various times as this is an indication of the nature of the relationship. We also note
the timing of key correspondence. Finally, we analyze the repetitiveness of certain
Courbet requests for meetings, travels, and sittings.
Eventually, Courbets unrequited devotion to Proudhon and his political ideals led
to suffering, imprisonment, derision, and exile. As noted by Karl Marx, great
13 Chu, The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 82.
14 Gerstle Mack, Gustave Courbet (New York: Da Capo Press, 1951), 193.
6


personages and actions occur twice, the first time as tragedy, the second time as
farce.15 This was the case with the relationship of Courbet and Proudhon. Proudhon
was the exemplar of the gifted, persecuted political philosopher. Courbet, the
spumed acolyte, made himself into an exemplar of the less gifted follower for whom
tragedy became farce.
15 Karl Marx, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852). First published in Die
Revolution. Quoted here from Robert C. Tucker, ed., The Marx-Engels Reader (New
York/London: 1978), 594. Also, Gabriel Finkelstein, personal communication.
7


CHAPTER TWO: THE DISCOURSE OF REVOLUTION IN ART AND
LITERATURE
W e should not put forward revolutionary action as a means of social reform,
because that pretended means would simply be an appeal to force, to arbitrariness, in
brief, a contradiction.16 17 18
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, 1846
Indeed, is it at all surprising that a society founded on the opposition of classes
should culminate in brutal contradiction, the shock of body against body, as its final
denouement?'1 Monsieur Proudhon has the misfortune of being peculiarly
misunderstood in Europe. In France, he has the right to be a bad economist, because
he is reputed to be a good German philosopher. In Germany, he has the right to be a
bad philosopher, because he is reputed to be one of the ablest of French
18
economists.
Karl Marx, 1847
I have received a libel by a Doctor Marx.. .it is a tissue of abuse, calumny,
falsification and plagiarism.19 Marx is the tapeworm of socialism!20
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, 1847
The middle of the nineteenth century in Europe was a period of intense
revolutionary discourse, during which even art was subject to social critique, as it
often has been at such times. The period witnessed the secularization of religiosity,
the spread of Darwinism, the second Industrial Revolution, and continental
revolutions. France was a major center of reformist thinking and publishing, and the
16 Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, letter to Karl Marx, May 17, 1846. Accessed on 6-19-
2010 from Marxist Internet Archive, www.marxists.org
17 Tucker, The Marx Engels Reader, 219.
18 Francis Wheen, Karl Marx: A Life (New York/London: W.W. Norton and
Company, 2001), 107.
19 Woodcock, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work ,102.
20 Ibid, 102.
8


French revolutionaries were happy to argue among themselves and largely ignore the
solemn German doctors of philosophy 21 22 who flocked to Paris seeking safety from
their own repressive governments. According to Marx biographer Francis Wheen:
All the best known political thinkers of the age were Frenchmen foremost among
them, Pierre Joseph Proudhon. According to art historian James Henry Rubin,
Proudhon was more notorious in the 1850s than any other radical thinker.23
Wheen was considering the age somewhat more broadly than we do in this thesis,
reaching back in time to add such luminaries as Fourier,* Saint-Simon,* and
Considerant. A notable exception to these two broad generalizations was Karl Marx,
who contributed to the dialogue to an extraordinary extent and spent a total of
seventeen months living in Paris and Brussels himself.24 The most significant French
social philosopher of the era, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, was to have close contact with
Marx, as well as an acerbic, contentious relationship. The disagreements between
Marx and Proudhon were significant in that they would later lead to the greatest
divisions among elements within the Paris Commune.
Proudhon and Marx first met in July of 1844, when Marx was living in the
Faubourg St. Germain in Paris, and where Marx introduced Proudhon (already
21
Woodcock, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 91.
22 Wheen, Karl Marx: A Life, 61.
23
James Henry Rubin, Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon
(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), 4.
24 The observation that the solemn German doctors of philosophy were largely
ignored is not inconsistent with the significance of Marx to this work. At the time of
the Marx/Proudhon contact, Marx was relatively unpublished, with his most
significant publishing to come later.
9


famous in socialist circles for his 1840 work What is Property?) who could not speak
German, to the work of Hegel. At the time Marx was, along with Friedrich Engels,
contributing to the Deutsch-Franzosische Jahrbucher, (German-French Annals) a
periodical devoted to socialist communication between French and Germans.* 26 This
time and place was critically important as it was then and there that Marx and Engels,
after having spent ten straight days in constant contact, begin their collaboration in
earnest.27 Over the course of slightly more than a year, Marx and Proudhon engaged
in the regular, all-night discussions for which Marx became so well-known later in
Fondon. In view of Proudhons notable lack of formal education, it is likely that this
was his first exposure to Hegel, and that exposure was coming directly from the lips
of one of the Young (Feft) Hegelians most influential thinkers.
The leftist philosophers were in agreement on only one thing: revolution against
the existing bourgeois society was a must. Within that overall dialogue however,
great debates raged about means to this goal. For Marx, whom posterity has shown to
have had the most significant, long term, worldwide effect on society, revolution by
the proletariat was an absolute necessity.28 29 The Communists disdain to conceal their
views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the
forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. For Proudhon, violence was
not needed, and was in fact to be scrupulously avoided, but eventual anarchy was the
95
Fritz Raddatz ed., Ewald Osers trans., Karl Marx Friedrich Engels Selected
Letters (Boston/Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1981), 162.
26 Ibid
27 Ibid
28 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848)
29 Ibid
10


ultimate state of society, a society which would consist essentially of a loose
confederation of independent patriarchal peasant and artisan households. 30
Prior to 1840, Proudhons literary career was essentially that of an essayist,
submitting articles in which he began to offer rudimentary philosophical insights
mainly dealing with language and occasionally with religion.31 32 He published What is
Property? in 1840, adding his voice to the chorus of socialist thought. He took the
perspective that property was, theft, asking the question and then telling the world,
What is property?...Property is robbery.33 In this work, he even predated Marx in
propounding a labor theory of value.34 The debates and dialogues between advocates
of Marxs version of communism, and advocates of Proudhons version of anarchism
were spirited. Each accused the other of error with regularity.
For writers of the left, the revolutionaries of 1848 and the Communards of 1871
were to become martyrs to a great cause. From the perspective of the political right,
the forces of order, an entirely different characterization emerged. The revolt of the
Paris Commune of 1871 was described by the right as the most formidable and
criminal the world has ever seen,35 contrived by the ruthless desperadoes of
30 J.W. Burrow, The Crisis of Reason: European Thought, 1848-1914 (New
Haven/Fondon: Yale University Press, 2000), 117.
31
Woodcock, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 36-39.
32 This is the most common, modem translation of Proudhons wording.
33 Benj. R. Tucker, tr., What is Property? (Princeton: Benj. R. Tucker, 1876), 11.
34 Woodcock, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 47. This was not original
with Proudhon, Smith and Ricardo had also advocated such theories.
35
W. Pembroke Fetridge, The Rise and Fall of the Paris Commune in 1871: With a
Full Account of the Bombardment, Capture, and Burning of the City (New York:
Harper and Brothers, Publishers, 1871), 15.
11


'y/r
Paris. Each of these perspectives is more polemical than explanatory. Rather than
realistically describe the situation, their authors chose to attempt to score political
points with the readership.
There existed a great number of issues on which Marx and Proudhon were in
disagreement and which could be the subject of entire theses on their own. However,
for the purposes of this work, we can concentrate on those points of contention which
affected the decisions and actions of Courbet, Proudhon and the Commune.
Essentially, the disagreements between Marx and Proudhon concerned two key areas
which would be manifested among the members of the Commune; the need for
violent physical revolution, and centralization versus decentralization. Ultimately,
the rift between Marxists and Proudhonians, Communists and anarchists, was to
become the defining issue in the constant squabbling of the International Working
Mens Association in France. This was not the only group for which this was the
defining issue. In his introduction to the twentieth anniversary German edition of
Marxs The Civil War in France, Friedrich Engels described the fierce divisions
among the members of the 1871 Paris Commune as being between those
Communards who were essentially Communists, and those who were adherents of
the Proudhonian School of Socialism,36 37 the same division manifested in the
International Working Mens Association debates.
These disagreements were handled in a civilized, academic manner from 1844
until 1846 when Proudhon seemingly rejected an overture from Marx, resulting in the
36 Ibid
37 Max Eastman, ed., Capital, The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings by Karl
Marx (New York: The Modern Library, 1959), 377.
12


flurry of dialogue noted in the opening of this chapter. In 1846 Marx set about
creating an international group of correspondents dedicated to keeping the socialist
activists across Europe aware of each others activities. The tapeworm of socialism
reached out to Proudhon, the bad philosopher, to engage in that series of
communications. On May 5, 1846 Marx invited Proudhon to join in his efforts to
put the German socialists in touch with the French and English socialists; to keep
foreigners constantly informed of the socialist movements that occur in Germany and
to inform the Germans in Germany of the progress of socialism in France and
England.38 At this point in the relationship, Marx tells Proudhon that we all of us
believe that we could find no better correspondent than yourself,39 high praise
indeed from a man who rarely saw virtue in the work of others, even those who
agreed with him.
Proudhon rejected Marxs overture. The rejection was equivocal, not even
complete. Ele did not reject Marx out of hand; he merely set conditions on his
acceptance. Proudhon was happy to gladly agree to become one of the recipients of
your correspondence, whose aims and organization seem to me most useful.40
However, then came the caveat which Marx found unacceptable. Proudhon went on
to say but let us not, merely because we are at the head of a movement, make
ourselves the leaders of a new intolerance, let us not pose as the apostles of a new
38 Karl Marx, letter to Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, May 5, 1846. Accessed on 6-18-2010
from Marxist Internet Archive, www.marxists.org
39 Ibid
40 Op Cit, Proudhon to Marx
13


religion, even if it be the religion of logic, the religion of reason.. .on that condition I
will gladly enter your association. Otherwise no!41
Was this a conditional acceptance, or a conditional rejection? It made no
difference to Marx. The early academic dialogue degenerated into argumentum ad
hominem, as did Marxs commentaries on Lassalle* and a host of other socialist
luminaries of the day who held perspectives which differed, even slightly, from his
own.42 Marx, having had the benefit of outliving Lassalle, Bakunin* and Proudhon,
published an extremely negative obituary of Proudhon in the German press.43
With respect to the desired revolution, Marx held that the uprising of the
proletariat in the streets was an absolute necessity. They openly declare that their
ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social
conditions.44 Proudhon strongly disagreed, contending that the working class
should attain to revolution not by political action but by economic means only.45
This struck to the heart of the divergence of the two mens actions during the
revolutions of 1848. While Marx helped to raise funds to arm insurgents in Brussels
and participated in the preparations for the violence,46 Proudhon, the advocate of
non-violent, economic actions and ever the pacifist, during the violence of 1848 was
41 Op Cit, Proudhon to Marx
42 For Marxs observations of a seriously ad-hominem nature, see Raddatz (1981)
which contains numerous examples of ad-hominem commentary in Marx/Engels
personal correspondence.
3 Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx: His Life and Environment (New York/Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1996), 197.
44 Tucker, The Marx Engels Reader, 500.
45 Edward Hyams, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Revolutionary Life, Mind and Works
(London: John Murray Publishers, 1979), 261.
46 Fritz J. Raddatz, tr., Ewald Osers, ed., Karl Marx Friedrich Engels: Selected
Letters (Boston/Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1981), 163.
14


the great non-participant, wandering from street to street, a gentleman in a frock-
coat, a wearer of our decoration, talking things over with the rebels,47 but hardly
participating in any violence.
Secondly, for Marx, the centralized, communal dictatorship of the proletariat was
an absolute necessity, at least prior to the withering away of the state which would
precede the age to come. Proudhon would have none of that. Centralization of
authority, in any form, was anathema to him as it was to other influential anarchists
such as Bakunin. For Proudhon, total and as complete decentralization as possible
would create the desired result. He was, in Berlins memorable phrase an advocate of
crypto-individualism,48 but truly not as crypto as Berlin would have us believe.
His advocacy of individualism in lieu of the more authoritarian Communist vision of
society was quite open. His view of authority, even authority of the people was clear.
Once in power all men are the same. Always there is the same zeal for authority, the
same distrust of the people, the same fanatical attachment to law and order.49
Rather than placing his faith in any form of centralized rule or centralized
ownership of property, Proudhon advocated what he referred to as Mutualism, an
economic system in which free men, without recourse to government in any manner
would band together in mutual ownership of business, mutual labor efforts, and
mutual management and extension of credit.50 This system of social economy was
47 T.J. Clark, Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973), 49.
48 Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx: His Life and Environment (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1996), 86.
49 Hyams, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Revolutionary Life, Mind and Works, 123.
50 Ibid, 120.
15


expected to come into being with little or no oversight by any government, and with
no centralized ownership of the means of production. Capitalism as it existed was to
be overthrown, but not to be replaced by any version of central management or even
planning. Proudhon, in contrast to the Communist left, offered a version of utopian
socialism which was based essentially on moral principles, doing what was right, not
what was historically inevitable.51 He claimed in his Systeme II that man in his
development progresses incessantly from fatality to liberty, from instinct to reason,
from the material to the spiritual.52
Courbet and the Socialists
The revolutionary rhetoric was in the air, popular not only among philosophers,
but among all members of intellectual society, reacting to the failed revolutions of
1848. A remarkable concourse of poet, painter, musicians, writers, reformers and
theorists had gathered in the French capital53 A congregation of philosopher-poets
filled the tables of the cafes and bistros, explaining, debating and pontificating.
Courbet reveled in his participation in this world of bohemians and dandies, rubbing
elbows with Baudelaire and Champfleury,* the founder of the realist school of
literature, as he held court Thursdays at the Brasserie Andler.54
Literary Realism followed a parallel path to artistic Realism. The Romantic pre-
1848 Revolution works such as Dumas peres Count of Monte Cristo and The Three
51 In this he was part of a school of thought with roots going back as far as Thomas
Mores Utopia, and continuing through the work of Fourier, Saint Simon, and even to
the U.S. in Robert Owens New Harmony Indiana.
52 Rubin, Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, 50.
CQ
Berlin, Karl Marx: His Life and Environment, 61.
54 Mack, Gustave Courbet, 58,59,97.
16


Musketeers can be read as the literary equivalents of the painter Davids depictions of
equally swashbuckling heroes. In Realist novels Flauberts urban clerks turned rustic
experimenters replaced the pre-revolution heroes of the nobility. In other novels, as in
paintings, the common man of France with dirt on his hands replaced the heroes of
Romantic fiction whose hands never touched anything so common.55
Under this influence, Gustave Courbet considered himself to be a revolutionary,
socialist, and realist, a partisan of all the revolution,56 all of which, he claimed to
have manifested in his art. Additionally, between the years of 1848 and 1871 Courbet
became increasingly radicalized in his politics, from mild interest at best, to active
participation in the uprising of the Paris Commune of 1871. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
played a key role in this transformation, profoundly influencing Courbet on a
personal level57.
Between 1848 and 1853 Courbet created some of his greatest art, which was
clearly revolutionary in the artistic sense of promoting Realism and placing everyday
events in the lives of everyday people into monumental art of the kind previously
restricted to great moments in history. Prior to Courbet, the hierarchy of artistic
genres as articulated by the Academie Franqaise58, placed history painting at the apex
of the artworld, with portraits, landscapes, and still-lifes in descending order. Courbet
paid homage to the ranking, but to the chagrin of the critics, placed contemporary
French citizens into the representations previously reserved for the historical and
55 As exemplified by the contrast between Edmond Dantes and the Count in The
Count of Monte Cristo.
56 Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 103.
57
Mack, Gustave Courbet, 53.
58
The Academie Frangaise, semi-governmental arbiter of all things artistic in France
17


mythological elite. In doing this Courbet was quite open about his intent, telling the
artworld that every age should be represented by its own artists...the artists of one
century are totally incapable of representing the things of a preceding or subsequent
century.59 For Courbet, the idea that a nineteenth century artist should attempt to
portray the past, whether real or mythological was futile. Realism could only
represent what was, not what had been.
Academic art was meticulous in execution, romantic in subject matter, and catered
to an artworld in which the government may have replaced the Church as the main
sponsor of art, but that change in patronage did not eliminate the essential dignity of
the subject matter portrayed. The new Realist art, of which Courbet was to become
known as the father, and in which dignified portrayal of subjects was largely
irrelevant, would eventually cater to a new market-driven class of buyers.60
In this atmosphere politically oriented art was a mainstay of the artworld. As
such, it was constantly critiqued from political perspectives. T.J. Clark has observed
that for a while in the mid nineteenth century, the State, the public and the critics
agreed that art had a political sense and intention. And painting was encouraged,
repressed, hated and feared on that assumption.61 62 63 Courbets art was characterized by
contemporary critics as an engine of revolution, and in 1851 at the time of the
/TO
Salon, he was called the Proudhon of painting. Yet, the realm of political art was
59 Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 203.
60 Anne M. Wagner, Courbets Landscapes and their Market, Art History 4, no. 4
(December 1981), 411.
61 Clark, Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution, 9.
62 Ibid, 134. Quoting Salon critic Louis Peisse
63 Ibid, 134. Quoting Salon critic Enault
18


not just revolutionary or socialist, such as the Courbet works which we will look at in
chapter three. The forces of order were well represented by artists like Horace Vernet
and Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier whose paintings of revolutionary death, such as
Rue-Soufflot Juin 1848 and La Barricade made clear that death [was] the only
victor at the barricades.64 In their works the viewer sees the reality of death in the
streets, the blood and destruction which were the inevitable result of revolution.
Fig. 1: Rue Soufflot Juin 1848, Horace Vernet, 1848
64 Rubin, Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, xvii. Rubin is quoting
art historian Meyer Shapiro
19


Fig. 2: La Barricade, Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier, 1848
In French art of the nineteenth century, heroism or despotism were all in the eye of
the social group for whom the work was intended, as were the heroics or the
depravities of the 1848 revolutionaries and the 1871 Communards. The intellectual
turmoil in philosophy, literature and art was central to Courbets life, art and actions.
20


CHAPTER THREE: COURBET THE MAN, HIS ART AND HIS ACTIONS,
1848-1853
I am so busy with my painting right now that it is very difficult for me to write, for
once I am doing something it is impossible for me to think of anything else at all.65
(1847) Anyhow, I am not getting involved in politics, as usual, for I find nothing
emptier than that.66 (1848)
Gustave Courbet
The social revolution was rising up, without anybody, high or low, appearing to be
aware of it.67 It is necessary to give a direction to the movement68
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon 1848
These were the sentiments of Courbet and Proudhon just prior to and during the
revolution of 1848. We see one man, Courbet, who is consumed by his art, considers
himself a revolutionary perhaps, but is unwilling to act on those revolutionary
impulses,69 other than through his art, at this time. This is not to say that
revolutionary art is not impactful, it certainly can be. Additionally, it is not to infer
hypocrisy on the part of Courbet. Rather, it is to point out the manner in which
Courbet expressed himself and his socialist views, which was to change dramatically
over the course of his life. That change is at the core of this discussion. We also see
another man,
65 Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 75.
66 Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 77.
67 Woodcock, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 117.
68 Ibid, 119.
69 As indicated by not running for elective office, engaging in violence, or issuing
public proclamations.
21


Proudhon, who was dedicated to revolutionary action, but exhorted his friends not to
fight.70 71
As we review the personal history of Courbet in these years we will see a man
maturing as a painter, becoming accustomed to bohemian life in Paris and creating
the first great socialist works of art. During this period Courbets revolutionary
instincts were sharpened as he changed from a relative unknown to a painter who had
the attention of the public, the critics, and the government.
The Man
Gustave Courbet came by his revolutionary perspective from the very beginning of
71
his life. Bom on June 10, 1819 in the small town of Ornans in the Franche-Comte
region of France to Regis and Suzanne-Silvie Courbet, he was the grandson on his
mothers side of Jean-Antoine Oudot (Jean-Antoine Oudot, January 23, 1768 -
August 13, 1848),72 a fierce republican who had fought in the French Revolution. As
part of a large immediate family consisting of himself and four sisters, and a close
extended family (in over a dozen letters written to his family between November of
1837 and May of 1840 he makes a point of giving his very fond regards to his
grandfather and grandmother, as well as assorted uncles, aunts, and cousins) he first
70
Woodcock, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 118.
71 Located in the far eastern, alpine geography of France, only miles from the Swiss
border.
72 www.wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com Entry 232925 for Pierre Bourgeois (1925-2004).
Oudot i.d. 1032965
22


encountered radical republicanism and anti-clericalism at an early age,73 an influence
which was to remain with him well into his young manhood. In this sense, as it was
to be for his entire life, Courbets political and philosophical perspectives, absorbed
around the dinner table, was intuitive and emotional, as evidenced by his lack of
higher education and poor performance in the schooling that he did receive.
The family was prosperous, with father Regis owning sufficient lands and vineyards
to be a registered voter in the days prior to French universal suffrage. As rural
bourgeois, it was accepted that young Gustave should be sent to school and prepare
for a profession suitable for the son of such a family; law, teaching, the Church
perhaps, but certainly not painting. Despite his parents wishes for professional
training, his schooling was minimal and his performance unremarkable, with bad
grades and worse attitude.74
Sent in 1831 at the age of twelve to the Omans petit-seminary, a small, local
academic institution, he struggled for six years with poor grades and an equally poor
attitude, particularly towards the required religious instruction. Not many of the
students failed to complete their First Communion for year after year, as did Courbet,
brimming with his early anti-clericalism. Although referred to as a petit-seminary,
the school was intended for the education of secular youths as well as aspiring
religious. At eighteen, his family enrolled him in the nearby College Royal at
Besangon, intending that he study law, a profession deemed to be appropriate for a
young man of his class and geographic location. This effort at education was as
73
Mack, Gustave Courbet, 4.
74 Ibid, 10.
23


disastrous as his earlier attempts. A constant complainer, he threatened his family
time after time with mnning away from the school and from them. I absolutely want
to leave my classes for Im here perforce.. .if you insist on forcing me to stay, I will
soon no longer be here.75 In November of 1840, Courbet finally got his wish and,
never having taken his examinations, he left school for Paris and the life of a painter,
sans baccalaureate.
In 1848, the first revolution broke out in Sicily, followed by the French mobs
storming the Chamber of Deputies and proclaiming a Republic,76 77 78 79 an act which
ultimately led to the bloody June Days in Paris. Proudhon ran for the French
Constituent Assembly and Courbet began to reinvent himself and prepare to paint his
socialist works, truly a momentous year. Again, there was a political component to
each action. The failure of the revolutions of 1848 affected the course of society and
77
intellectual activity in France for a generation and more.
According to Rubin, it was about 1848 that the first of Courbets reinventions of
self took place as he left the world of bohemian dandyism in favor of his Franc-
Comtois roots. This change in behavior and language was what Clark referred to
as camouflage..obstinate patois, provincial manners, a mask which Courbet put
on at will, designed to create the persona which he wished to show the world. By
then, at age twenty eight, Courbet had been living in the Left Bank of Paris for eight
75
Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 16.
76 Mack, Gustave Courbet, 47.
77
For an extensive discussion of the changes in European society and intellectual
activity in the wake of the failures of the revolutions of 1848 see J.W. Burrows The
Crisis of Reason: European Intellectual Thought, 1848-1914 (1980)
78
Rubin, Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, 53.
79
Clark, Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution, 82.
24


years, finally settling at 32, rue Hautefeuille in the sixth arrondissement in the
converted apse of a chapel which had been secularized during the suppression of the
Catholic Church during the French Revolution. His studio and lodgings were
situated above the appropriately named Cafe de la Rotonde.
In contrast to the family situation of Courbet, Proudhon was born into a poor
family in Besangon on January 15, 1809, having to attend school on scholarship. His
early works of political and economic philosophy such as What is Property?,
published at the young age of thirty one, were written while he worked long, hard
hours at a variety of manual labors, primarily typesetting and printing. His interest in
political economy was intellectual, if unlettered.
By October of 1846 when he published The Philosophy of Poverty, Proudhon was
arguably the most influential socio-political thinker in France. His reputation was
81
also growing in Germany, as the book was published in three translations by 1847.
Strongly anti-communist as well as anti-clerical, it was this work which occasioned
the skewering delivered by Marx noted in the opening lines of chapter one.
Proudhons riposte was never published, it exists only in his personal notes.
Inasmuch as at that time, Marx was a relative unknown in France compared to
Proudhon, it would appear that Proudhons lack of published response was one
calculated to ignore the man. Proudhons political stances reflected his theories, and
he put those political positions into writing in Le Representant du Peuple, a left wing
political journal. 80 81
80
Mack, Gustave Courbet, 25.
81
Woodcock, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 100.
25


In 1848 the political journals were the strongest manifestation of opposition to the
government of Louis-Phillipe,82 the last Orleanist king of France. Papers such as
Constitutionel, and Courrier Frangais represented liberal interests, La Reforme,
socialist, and Proudhons Le Representant du Peuple, anarchist. Proudhon, taking
every opportunity to place his theories before the public, utilized the banner headline
to make his point. Le Representant du Peuple, in its first issue of February 2, 1848, at
the very beginning of the uprising during the second day of fighting in the streets,
proclaimed What is the Producer? Nothing. What should he be? Everything.83 His
rhetoric was exhilarating, his circulation soared, breaking records.84 In April of that
year, after the abdication of Louis-Phillipe and amid Proudhons rising popularity
with the masses in the streets for whom his words resonated, Proudhon was put up for
election, an election in which 1.2% of the population of France was eligible to vote.
Elected to the National Assembly in April of 1848, he quickly took his ideas out of
the realm of theory and agitation and put them to the test of parliamentary
government. Proudhon advocated creation of a non-profit citizens bank, an imposed
reduction on all current rents and bills owed by one-third, and that creditors surrender
to the government one-third of all they had been owed over the previous three years.
Those sums to be redistributed by the government back to the debtors, basically a tax
on unearned income, an idea common today but outrageous by 1848 French
standards. Not one of the measures which he advocated regarding taxes, property or
82
Hyams, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Revolutionary Life, Times and Works, 105.
83 Ibid, 106.
84 Ibid, 105.
26


85
banking was adopted by the Assembly, and in a show of immense displeasure, the
Assembly voted to censure Proudhon by an astonishing vote of 691 to 2, with only
Proudhon and a single ally dissenting.85 86 *
By July of 1848 Le Representant was suppressed by the government due to
Proudhons continuing agitation. Despite the fact that the new government was
republican in nature, Proudhons positions, such as calling for the previously noted
forcible reduction in rents, were too extreme for its taste. The suppression lasted
briefly with publishing beginning again in August. Resorting again to the banner
headline, Proudhon brought the paper back with: What is the Capitalist?
Everything! What should he be? Nothing! which resulted in the final elimination of
the paper in September.88 89
Not to be outdone by the government, Proudhon struck back in November with the
creation of his newest effort, Le Peuple, in which he continued to antagonize the
government for another six months. When he referred to the popularly elected
OQ
president, Louis Bonaparte as a bear or an ox, a poor beast of Circus or Carnival,
he encountered the personal enmity of the head of state. On March 22, 1849 he
finally published the words which were to result in the demise of the paper. On that
day he called for the people of Paris to rise in civil disobedience, refuse to pay their
taxes, and refuse to serve in the military. This was ultimately too much for the
establishment to accept. In March of 1849 Proudhon was arrested and imprisoned in
85
Mack, Gustave Courbet, 54.
86 Woodcock, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 135.
Hyams, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Revolutionary Life, Times and Work, 135.
88 Ibid, 138.
89 Ibid, 151.
27


Sainte Pelagie prison for a term of three years, during which time he was to have his
fateful first meeting with Gustave Courbet.
The Art
Prior to 1848 Courbets art was maturing and beginning to show the signs of the
artistic genius which was to come. He produced a large number of self-portraits,
depicting himself in all manner of clothing and with all manner of accoutrements
(carving tools, musical instruments, books) most of which show him as a handsome,
introspective young man, who was growing comfortable with himself, and often
accompanied by his small black spaniel.
Beginning in 1848 Courbet produced his greatest signature paintings, those that
formed the basis for his being considered to be a revolutionary artist. Three works in
particular are such strong statements of the significance of the working and rural
classes that they can be considered to be manifestos of socialist perspective. Paintings
such as The Stonebreakers, which shows the unrelenting labor of the working class,
The Peasants ofFlagey Returning from the Fair, in which we see a fundamental part
of the life of Frances rural population, and Burial at Omans, depicting the
ceremonial life of villagers, all painted between 1849 and 1850, were revolutionary in
their time and place, more as a matter of content than of form, although the formal
element was not ignored.90 Unlike so many of the academic artists who preceded
him, Courbet embraced the paint. Rather than seeking to eliminate from observation
90 Although Courbets content was his most radical departure from previous schools
of art, he also substantially differed in formal elements such as application of paint
by palette knife in bold swatches of color.
28


the matter of which the painting is constructed, Courbet was eager to show that paint
was a physical substance which was placed upon another physical substance, the
canvas. As Fried notes, the thick impasto is extremely apparent; the paint is often
laid down with a palette knife rather than a brush, so that it becomes a tangible, built
up crust that arrests the eye... we are forced to remember that we are in front of a
solid work of art, a painted object, a representation.91
Fig. 3: The Stonebreakers, Gustave Courbet, 1848
In The Stonebreakers we see a somber vision of an ageing worker and, as noted by
Courbet, his rapidly ageing,92 younger companion engaged in a meaningless and
futile task that exposes the misery and poverty of the working class, what Marx
91 Michael Fried, Courbets Realism (Chicago and London: The University of
Chicago Press, 1992), 265.
The observation that the young man would eventually become like the old man has
been remarked on previously, see Clark (1973), 30, and Courbets own description of
the piece in his letter to Francis Wey of November 26, 1849. Wey was eventually to
use this description as part of his novel Le Biez de Serine.
29


would have called alienated labor.93 As Courbet himself observed, in this
occupation you begin like the one and end like the other.94 In this early example of
his socialist work, Courbet clearly privileges manual labor. Michael Fried in
Courbets Realism considers this to be the (sic) image of alienated labor in all
Courbets art.95 This form of labor, which, in addition to being alienated in itself, is
alien to the bourgeois observer, such as Courbet.96 We can read his version of
Realism here as unmediated and observational. His work is the result of direct,
personal observation, not the creation of some idealized vision and not enhanced or
minimized by any mediating influences. Courbet claimed to have come across these
laborers along a road, bringing them later to his studio to pose for the portrait.
In Burial at Omans, which was Courbets home town, we see country folk in their
Sunday best. Among the faces are those of his relatives, his father and his sisters,97 98
possibly, his grandfather Oudot as well. Bom into a family of rural, landowning
no
bourgeois, his father, Regis, was reputed to be the richest man in Flagey. In this
painting we see how Courbet brought impressive size and interesting composition to
the depiction of daily life in a country village. Prior to Burial at Omans, this scope
was restricted in academic art to history painting, canvases like Davids Oath of the
Horatii, Death of Socrates, or Napoleon Crossing the Alps. The essence of history
painting was depictions of great moments in history or mythology, rendered with
93 Fried, Courbets Realism, 262.
94 Ibid, 262.
95 Ibid, 261.
96 Ibid, 102.
9T
Clark, Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the Revolution of 1848, 31.
98 Ibid, 114.
30


impressive majesty. Accordingly, the Academie was outraged by these stylistic
elements being brought to the lives of country provincials.
Fig. 4: Burial at Omans, Gustave Courbet, 1849/50
Courbet painted this work during the winter of 1849-50, in Ornans, and it may
have a significance that is sometimes speculated on, but not yet confirmed. This may
well be the funeral of his grandfather Oudot," who died in 1848, or of his
grandmother Saulnier-Oudot, who had died in 1847. Although it has been speculated
before now that this may represent the funeral of his grandfather, an alternative
reading of the picture can be offered. The well dressed man with top hat and blue
stockings is arguably the most significant character in the painting, both in position
and size, at least equal to that of the priest. He has long been interpreted as one of the 99 *
99 Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gustave Courbet (New York: Metropolitan Museum
of Art, 2008), 174. Dominique de Font-Reaulx.
31


republicans of 1793.100 Grandfather Oudot was a republican of 1793, suggesting
that this may, in fact, be the burial of Courbets grandmother, with grandfather Oudot
in attendance. The man in question is certainly painted as a significant and strong
character. The size and positioning of the characters in Courbets works are
purposeful. One need only review the locations and sizes of the characters portrayed
in The Studio for this to be seen. Once it is understood that the characters size and
location are germane to the reading of the painting, the logical next step is to read that
figure as much more than simply a republican of 1793.101 Courbet, even more of a
dedicated family man than a revolutionary, could be seen as recording the recent
death of a close family member, with his beloved and admired grandfather Oudot in
attendance, either literally or symbolically. The best reading of this painting as more
than a family funeral, containing artistic significance beyond simple representation, is
that of Courbet himself who said in Antwerp in 1861 that Burial at Omans was .. .in
reality, the burial of Romantic art.102 In his 1861 profession defoi, Courbet took this
position regarding The Burial in his explanation of Realist art, particularly with
respect to his own art, as will be discussed in detail in chapter five.
100
101
Ibid, 174.
The painting could also be read as the final laying to rest of the revolutionary
ideals of 1848.
102 Paul B. Crapo, Disjuncture on the Left: Courbet and the Antwerp Conference of
1861, Art History 14, no. 1 (March 1991): 84. Crapo quotes here from Gustave
Courbet, Profession de Foi, first printed in Le Precurseur (August 22, 1861).
32


Fig. 5: The Peasants of Flagey Returning from the Fair, Gustave Courbet, 1850
In The Peasants of Flagey Returning from the Fair, Courbet again uses the tropes
of history painting and applies them to the lives of the villagers. He show us the
sturdy livestock and equally sturdy peasants in all their rustic glory, an historical
equestrian piece in many ways, but one in which the tropes have been turned on their
head. In lieu of nobles and warriors of the past, typically depicted in heroic style, we
see that convention modified to signify the importance of the great masses of the rural
population rather than a single, individualized personality. The great man of the past
is replaced by the common man of contemporary life.
Addressing these three manifesto works is key, as they were among the group
which Courbet sent to the Salon of 1850/1851 and were the ones commented upon in
particular by Proudhon on the occasion of their first meeting. According to Clark,
33


that Salon was particularly political103 in nature, with several of the works
representing the forces of order. Meissoniers La Barricade and Mullers Roll Call of
the Last Victims of the Terror provided illustration of the horrors of revolution and
the necessity of moderation.104
In one small way Courbet did allow his art to come to the support of the
revolutionary cause for which so many of his friends fought. When Baudelaire,
Champfleury and Charles Touban* mutually conceived of a revolutionary paper to be
published during the early days of the uprising, Courbet was willing to sketch the
frontispiece for them, a fighter atop the barricades waving a musket and the tricolor
flag, clearly reminiscent of Delacroixs* Liberty Leading the People of an earlier
generation. The publication, Salut Public, lasted two issues.
The victors of 1848 continued to control the official artworld of France as
sanctioned by the Academie.
The Actions
During the great revolutionary year of 1848 Courbet took no overt political or
revolutionary action at all, and Gerstle Mack reports in his biography of Courbet, that
the commencement of the revolution disturbed (him) very slightly.105 This relative
indifference to the bloody actions in the streets and the politics surrounding them,
which was similar at the time to the initial indifference of his friend Baudelaire,106 *
103
Clark, Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the Revolution of 1848, 131.
104 Ibid, 131.
105 Mack, Gustave Courbet, 48.
106 J.W. Burrow, The Crisis of Reason: European Thought, 1848-1914 (New
Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2000), 15.
34


was to change dramatically by the time of the Commune. It is yet one more example
of the corrections in the trajectory of Courbets life.
Courbets activities during the revolution of 1848 are difficult to assess,
particularly in view of the difficulty of accepting his letters at face value. As Mack
further observed in his definitive biography: Even in his calmest moments Courbet
never allowed factual precision to hamper his inclination to overstate and
dramatize107 However, those activities must be assessed in order to have a full
understanding of the change which took place in Courbets approach to revolution
over the twenty three years between the uprisings of 1848 and 1871. One of the key
pieces of evidence speaking to this observation is his letter to family of April 17,
1848. When addressing the actions of the National Guard and the people of Paris he
told his family I will wear my National Guard outfit every day. I will look splendid
in it, and they will take me for an enraged citizen. Yet contrary to Courbets
remarks in this letter, there is absolutely no evidence that he ever joined the Guard or
took part in any other proactive revolutionary activities.* 109 In his authoritative work
Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution, T.J. Clark confirms
that fact and adds the observation that hardly a trace of political involvement in the
streets...he did not fight on the barricades; he avoided claiming that, (italics in
original) even in 1871,110 a clear reference to Courbets self-reinvention while
campaigning for political office with the Commune. We will argue later in this thesis
i n>-j
Mack, Gustave Courbet, 52.
1 OR
Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 80.
109 For observations on this subject see, Clark (1976) 34, Metropolitan Museum of
Art (2008) 432, and Chu (1992), 81.
110 Clark, Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the Revolution of 1848, 47.
35


that Courbets claims in his 1871 profession defoi were exaggerated. Clarks
observation indicates that he concurs that the profession was revisonist, but that even
with a certain level of exaggeration, Courbet did not go so far as to claim actual
experience at the barricades.
His early apathy turned to shock when two months after the April 17th letter,
Courbet again wrote to his family, during the bloody June Days, describing events in
the city, and now telling them that he was most definitely not involved in the fighting.
We are in (the middle of) a terrible civil war.. .1 dont fight for two reasons. First,
because I do not believe in wars fought with guns and cannon, and because it runs
counter to my principles.. .The second reason is that I have no weapons and cannot be
tempted.111 Compared to the seemingly jocular remark in the earlier letter, this
comment is in accordance with the pacifist principles of Proudhon, and would seem
to carry more weight in assessing the reality of the situation.
As violence continued in the capital into 1849 Courbet again reassured his family
that he was not involved, telling them that as for me, in this business I wage my fight
entirely with words.112 It is fortunate for both Courbet and the artworld that such
was the case. This letter was written two days after the opening of the Salon of 1849,
which gave Courbet what may be his greatest recognition from that institution.
Among the twelve canvasses which he submitted was Dinner at Omans, which won
him his only gold medal and which is his only major work to have been purchased by
the government, truly an exceptional year for Courbet. This painting, which has been
111 Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 81.
112 Ibid, 83.
36


described by art historian Michael Fried as the first of Courbets breakthrough
pictures was honored by the Salon which the Metropolitan Museum of Art
considered to be exceptionally liberal in its views.113 114 The portrayal of rustics in a
homely atmosphere was quite acceptable to that particular jury as it compared well
formally to the works of great Dutch masters. As written by Champfleury at the time,
yesterday no one knew his name...today, his name is on everyones lips.115
Up until this time in his life, Courbets emotionally founded revolutionary
perspective had been largely a result of his grandfathers influence. Not only had
grandfather Oudot been a revolutionary republican, but the family, particularly
Gustave, regarded that fact with pride. His influence extended through the
generations. There are certain laws of birth that are difficult to break. My
grandfather, who was a 1793 republican, adopted a maxim that he always repeated to
me: Shout loud and walk straight. My father has always followed it and I have done
the same.116 His devotion to his grandfather extended as far as his refusal to spend
the summer of 1845 in Flagey with his parents, so that he could live with his
grandfather in Omans. He even wrote to his parents that he wished to spend the time
with his grandparents because they raised me and have always been very good to
me, I want to live with them as much as possible,117 certainly a testament to
affection and devotion coming from a young man of twenty five living in the
bohemian atmosphere of Left Bank Paris. Grandfather Oudot, the familys
113 Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gustave Courbet, 156. Michel Hilaire.
114 Ibid, 157.
115 Ibid, 157.
116 Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 192.
117 Ibid, 56.
37


revolutionary hero, died in 1848, leaving the artist without his guidance, the
revolutionary traveler without his compass. For the first twenty nine years of his life,
Courbet had the benefit of a strong advocate of revolutionary progress in a man
whom he greatly respected and admired. That voice was now silent.
But, on Friday, April 11, 1851 a new personal influence came to bear on Courbet,
and the seeds that had been planted by his family began to flower under the warmth
that he soon felt for Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, despite the notable lack of reciprocal
warmth from the philosopher. As Proudhon recorded in his diary for that day April
118
11.- Went out, lunched with Richardet.. .the artist Courbet, Professor Bonvolot...
We note that the journal entry does not refer to my old friend Courbet, my
associate Courbet, or anything of that nature which would indicate anything other
than a first meeting of celebrities. Proudhons note is crisp, clear and emotionally
uninvolved. He goes on to note several of Courbets works, including Burial at
Omans, Return from the Fair, and The Stonebreakers, observing that the artists work
depicts the ugliness of reality, but with great power.118 119 120 *
Proudhons diary record of this meeting, first noted by Bowness, is the earliest
written indication that Courbet and Proudhon actually met. The scholarly literature
typically indicates the supposed earlier meeting date, generally given as 1847 or
1848, which has become canonical. However, this later date (April 1851) is the
only one supported by documentation. This meeting has all the appearances of being
118 Bowness, Courbets Proudhon, 124.
119 Ibid, 124.
120 For the earlier date see Rubin (1980), Crapo (1991), Metropolitan Museum of Art
(2008), Mack (1951).
38


an arranged meeting of celebrities as suggested by Bowness.121 Proudhon, already
the famous philosopher, plays host to the more recently famous painter. The meeting
occurred just eleven days after the closing of the Salon for that year. This timing is
significant but previously unremarked upon, likely due to the fact that the dates of
these two occurrences (the closing of the Salon and the documented meeting) are
found in totally unrelated databases, the records of the Salon and Proudhons Carnets.
It was at this Salon that Courbet exhibited, among a total of nine paintings, the three
paintings mentioned by Proudhon in his journal. There was at the time lively debate
in French intellectual circles about Courbet and his work, particularly the three works
mentioned by Proudhon, none of which were to receive a medal at the award
announcement of May 3. In his Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848
Revolution, T.J. Clark characterizes the critical reaction to Courbets entries in this
Salon as equivocal and uncertain.122 He says that I judged the overall reaction of
eight critics to be one of outright fury, of eighteen to be unmistakable hostility, of five
to be criticism without rancor, of seven to be some kind of equivocation... and of
three only to be outright admiration.123
All three of these paintings had been included in the Salon, not due to election by
the selection committee, but because Courbet had been awarded a gold medal at the
1849 Salon, for After Dinner at Omans, (which, in a rarity for Courbet, was
Bowness, Courbets Proudhon, 124.
1 22
Clark, Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution, 133.
123 Ibid, 133.
39


purchased by the French government) and therefore, could not be denied124 under the
rules in effect in 1851. Lack of medals awarded by the Salon jury was nothing new
to Courbet. In fact, over several years of submissions, paintings such as Return from
the Conference, Burial at Omans, The Studio, and The Awakening were rejected in
their entirety either by the Salon or the Exposition Universelle.
There is little evidence to support the contention that Courbet and Proudhon had
met in 1848, and even less to suggest that they were constant companions, an
assertion made in 1956 in the George Woodcock biography of Proudhon which is
largely hagiographic125 in nature. It remains a distortion of the relationship which has
been maintained until very recently,126 and is still maintained by many scholars. This
distortion has created the incorrect inference that the relationship was mutually
sought and mutually enjoyed. Such was not the case as will be discussed in depth in
chapter five. Prior to May 25, 1863, when Courbet wrote his first extant letter to
Proudhon, he had written extensively to friends like Francis Wey (9 letters), Max
Buchon (9 letters), Alfred Bruyas* (11 letters), Champfleury (8 letters), and Amand
Gautier* (7 letters), but not a single letter to Proudhon. The bulk of this
correspondence with friends dated from 1849, prior to which he had communicated
almost exclusively with his family, his most prolific correspondence reserved for
family members, with an impressive eighty letters written to them in the years from
1837 to 1863.
124
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gustave Courbet, 432. Notes. The Salon changed
its rules from time to time, resulting in the inclusion or rejection of various works,
depending on the rules in effect for any particular Salon.
5 This work, while often cited, itself lacks much in the way of citations and is filled
with praiseful observations.
126
Bowness, Courbets Proudhon, 124.
40


The meeting mentioned by Proudhon was in Sainte Pelagie prison, where the
philosopher was jailed for his rhetoric which was officially deemed to be sedition.
Ironically, it would be the same prison in which Courbet served the bulk of his
sentence in 1871 for his actions during the period of the Commune. The
incarceration of political prisoners in Sainte Pelagie was quite civilized by general
prison standards. Built in 1665 as a hospice for retired prostitutes, it had no cells at
all, most prisoners being housed in military style barracks. The more significant of
the political prisoners, like Proudhon and later Courbet, had private rooms with doors
which were kept unlocked other than at night and were allowed visitors at the prison
and even home visits with their families. Additionally, they were allowed the benefit
of living a la pistol, which meant that they could have their meals delivered (at their
own expense) from Parisian restaurants, a benefit which Courbet was quite happy to
take advantage of.
In one of his minimal written references to Courbet, Proudhon notes that upon his
release on June 4, 1852, June 4, 1852 Walked to the Meudon with Darimon,
Bouteville, Courbet.127 The artist was one of the people who met Proudhon upon his
release, when they strolled to the Meudon forest for what T.J. Clark regarded as an
orgy of beer and song,128 an attribution typical for Courbet, but frankly suspect with
respect to the prudish and unsociable Proudhon. In contrast to the ebullient and hard
drinking Courbet, Proudhon was noted for his abstemious nature. In his biography of
127 Ibid, 124.
128 Clark, Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution, 156.
41


Courbet, Mack notes that Proudhon was like most zealots, somewhat narrow minded
1
and self-righteous. His moral code was rigid, his personal life irreproachable.
Throughout the years leading up to 1853 Courbets art was foremost, his family
was his greatest influence, and his political activities were minimal. That changed
with his meeting of Proudhon in 1851, his upcoming turn from socialist art to
commercial art, and his soon to be increasing level of political activism. By 1851 it
had become clear to friends and family that Courbet was now becoming a serious
socialist. Nine months prior to Courbets public proclamation of same, Cuenot*
wrote to Courbets sister Juliette in February of 1851 that her brother, is a terrible
socialist, that he is the leader of a band of conspirators. This, they add, is obvious in
his painting. The man is a savage,129 130 a bit of an exaggeration to be sure, but not far
off the mark. The changes first mentioned in the beginning of this chapter had now
become apparent to friends and family, as well as the public.
129
Mack, Gustave Courbet, 54.
130 Ibid, 52,53. Here Mack quotes from a letter from Cuenot to Juliette Courbet.
42


CHAPTER FOUR: COURBET THE MAN, HIS ART AND HIS ACTIONS, 1848-
1877
Realist stories, laced with philosophy and socialist politics, will be a positive
substitute for the worthless hackneyed novel. I could do ten books like this, if
someone helped me.131 (1868) I am not only a painter, but a man; I can give my
reasoned opinion in morality, in philosophy, in politics, in poetry, as in painting.132 133 134
(1853)
Gustave Courbet
he has the mind of a man of the world; nevertheless he is nothing but a painter; he
can neither talk nor write; classical studies have left few traces on him.. .though he
talks a great deal, his thoughts are disconnected. Yes, decidedly, he is stupid!
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon 1863
If Courbet, who is said to be very conceited, derives his conceit from the lessons he
thinks he is teaching us, I am tempted to send him back to school. He should know
that he is nothing but a poor, great, and very ignorant man135
Victor Hugo 1866
Raconteur and reprobate, a Rabelaisian character with truly gargantuan appetites,
in the years leading up to his participation in the Paris Commune of 1871, Courbet
became a caricature of himself.
131 Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 325. In this letter to Buchon, Courbet is
referring to a pamphlet, Line election au grande-duche de Gerolstein, by Ordinaire.
132 Rubin, Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, 79. Here Rubin cites
Courbet per Silvestre, Histoire des artistes vivants. This reference has the appearance
of being Silvestres interpretation of Courbets words in his letter to Alfred Bruyas of
October, 1853.
133 Mack, Gustave Courbet, 184.
134 Rubin, Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, 160.
135 Mack, Gustave Courbet, 185.
43


The Man
The personal myth which came to consume the man was that of the rustic cavalier;
the hearty, hard drinking Franc-Comtois peasant-philosopher, capable of swapping
stories and drinking until dawn with the best of the Parisian bohemians, as well as the
sturdy tradesman. In that time and place there existed a literary/artistic convention to
which Courbet subscribed. In literature, the form of this convention was the slightly
i -2/r
veiled autobiography, created by George Sand and other authors. For Courbet, the
convention manifested itself in his numerous self-portraits, which Chu refers to as
posing. She tells us that his self-portraits in a variety of poses create a visual,
partly fictional autobiography. This is shown in his portrait of himself and Bruyas,
The Meeting, in which he posits himself as a traveling artisan, a worker with tools, the
equal in every way of his rich patron.
The slim dandy of 1852 was gone, that phase having passed, replaced by the
sturdy provincial-come-to-town, continuing to be concerned with cutting a dashing
figure, but now becoming robust after years of excess. His drinking and womanizing
were beginning to take a toll. Even when he was visiting his family in the supposedly
restorative environs of Ornans, he told art critic and friend Champfleury, In Ornans I
frequent a cafe of poachers and outlaws. I screw a waitress. None of that cheers me 136 137
136 Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, The Most Arrogant Man in France: Gustave Courbet
and the Nineteenth Century Media Culture (Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University
Press, 2007), 18.
137 Ibid, 19.
44


up.n8 Champfleury clearly took notice of his friends dissipation. In his April 1865
letter to close mutual friend Max Buchon he told him, I have come to realize that,
gifted with great talents as a painter, he has let them drown in beer.138 139 Neither
doctrines nor explanations of his system can alter the fact that Courbet has gone off
the track since The Burial and After Dinner at Ornans. Ever since he painted those
two pictures I have regarded him as a man gone astray.140
Figs 6 and 7: Le Fils de Pere Duchene and Souvenirs de La Commune
He had finally come to be the man so savagely caricatured in Souvenirs de La
Commune and Le Fils de Pere Duchene, personally toppling the Vendome column,
destroying it in the guise of the old Stonebreaker himself. He had become, in the
seemingly uncharitable and somewhat subjective words of historian Alistair Horne
gross and heavily bearded and also sodden with drink.. .noisy and drunken old
138
Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 132.
139 Mack, Gustave Courbet, 198.
140 Ibid, 140.
45


Courbet141 The years had not been kind to Courbet, both with respect to his physical
health and to his art.
The years from Proudhons release from prison in 1852 and his death in 1865
were difficult as well; filled with writing, family problems and legal issues for the
anarchist, leaving little time or energy for the interaction with Courbet which is so
often erroneously cited. The documentary evidence does not support high levels of
interaction.
Fig. 8: Nadar photo of Proudon, circa mid 1850s
141 Alistair Horne, The Fall of Paris: The Siege and The Commune 1870-71 (London:
Penguin Books, 2007), 332, 299. This characterization by Home appears to be borne
out by the contemporary writings of Courbet, his family and friends, as well as critics.
46


On April 22, 1858 Proudhon published his most powerful anti-Catholic Church
work, De la Justice dans la Revolution et dans VEglise, in which Proudhon
proclaimed that the object of philosophy is to teach man to think for himself.142
Within a week the work was suppressed by the French authorities and banned by the
Prussians. Charges were brought, and on June 6th Proudhon was in court defending
himself against claims of reproduction in bad faith of false news...Excitement of
hatred among citizens.. .(and) Outrage to public and religious morality.143 In a one
day hearing, Proudhon was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison and a
fine of four thousand francs. Even his publisher and his printer were convicted,
imprisoned and fined. In this atmosphere intended to suppress his writing by
convicting all who assisted him, Proudhon saw no alternative than to flee the country,
leaving for Brussels by the following month.
From 1858 to 1862 Proudhon remained in Brussels, his wife and family
accompanying him for short periods, during which they suffered various illnesses and
endured domestic strife,144 but then returning to France and leaving him periodically
alone in his exile. This state of affairs, during which Proudhon continued to write,
lasted for four years until his return to Paris following a declaration of amnesty.
For his remaining years in Paris, Proudhon continued to work as best his declining
health would allow him. Worsening asthmatic conditions accompanied by what
might today be diagnosed as congestive heart failure caused a rapid physical
deterioration, as he told his friend Delhasse in 1864, My eyes see the letters dancing
142 Woodcock, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 204.
143 Ibid, 216.
144 Ibid, 226.
47


on the books I read, my hand trembles in writing, and I can collect my thoughts only
with difficulty.145
In November of 1864, Proudhons old friend, ally, and fellow anarchist Mikhail
Bakunin abandoned a journey to Florence to travel to Proudhons bedside for one last
good natured all-night debate, just as in the old days. On January 19th, 1865 Pierre-
Joseph Proudhon died at age fifty-six. His burial at the cemetery of Passy was
attended by six thousand mourners. Gustave Courbet was not among them.146
The Art
In these years Courbets artistic output registered a significant change in subject
matter as well as a deterioration in quality. With a single exception (The Beggars
Alms, universally disliked by the critics),147 the early socialist and monumental
canvases were gone, replaced by his more marketable portraits, landscapes, hunting
scenes, and nudes. As he channeled his revolutionary impulses into direct political
action, he channeled his muse into becoming a commercial success. None of this
work would approach the quality of his earlier efforts, and almost all of it was
derivative and uninspired.
Art critics and historians have typically countenanced those efforts by attempting
to insert a critical gloss on the work. Even Wagner, in her excellent piece on
143 Ibid, 263.
146 Courbets letters indicate that he was in Ornans the day of Proudhons death but
was made aware of it by the next day. There was time to go to Paris.
147 This painting, done in 1868 was Courbets final serious attempt at socially
conscious painting. It was roundly criticized by the commentators of the day as his
final degeneration into ugliness for the sake of ugliness.
148 Mack, Gustave Courbet, 328.
48


Courbets landscapes, while acknowledging the financial aspects of the work, tells the
reader that they represent an idealization of the natural world,149 and this may well
be accurate. Yet, in a free market economy, marketability is key, the simple answer
is best, Occams Razor holds. Merchantability and quality are not mutually
exclusive, but as noted elsewhere in this thesis, Courbet himself downplayed the
significance of these efforts, and art historian T.J. Clark considered Courbets
landscapes to be formulaic and the weakest part of Courbets art.150
Although, as always with Courbets letters, care must be taken to avoid blind
acceptance of his exaggerations, it is clear that his portraiture was becoming
increasingly in-demand. By 1865 he was writing to family and friends that I am
gaining a matchless reputation as a portrait painter. The ladies I wont be able to do
here will have themselves done this winter in Paris.151 I have received over two
thousand ladies in my studio, all wishing to have their portraits painted after they saw
the portrait of princess Karoly.152 It is arguable, and probable, that the actual
number of ladies may have been between one or two hundred, rather than the two
thousand claimed, but his output of canvases was impressive compared to his days of
manifesto paintings during which his output consisted of a few monumental paintings
per year.
By the mid 1860s Courbets art began to distance itself from the teachings of
Proudhon, for whom art demanded social accountability. Art, like liberty, has as its
149 Wagner, Courbets Landscapes and their Market, 429.
150 Clark, Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution, 132.
151 Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 267.
152
Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 268.
49


declared Proudhon. But,
subject man and things;...as its goal it has justice, 153
Courbet became less interested in social justice, at least insofar as his painting was
concerned. He even went so far in 1866 as to paint an idealized portrait of the finely
pedigreed dogs of the Comte de Choiseul, a patron of Courbets in the 1860s, and a
member of the French aristocracy at whose estate he visited in the fall of 1866,154 a
canine depiction far removed from the simple inclusion of the farmers dog in The
Burial. With a lingering trace of his bourgeois roots, and the associated fascination
with his betters, he informed his sister when describing the count, that he has the
truly great, distinguished manners of Frances best-bred ages,155 a singularly
descriptive remark from the self-proclaimed revolutionary. He waxes eloquent in his
description of the white tie dinner parties, the ocean view, and the helpful domestic
servants. In a theme that Courbet was to express for years, aristocracy that criticized
him for his socialist paintings was essentially evil and doomed they have only one
or two years left,156 while the aristocrats whom supported his lifestyle were
distinguished and well-bred.
In addition to his portraiture, his output of landscapes was prodigious. Of the
sixty-plus paintings which he submitted to the Salon up to 1853, only fifteen were
landscapes.157 But by 1862, when Courbet was visiting the Saintonge region in the
west of France and staying at the chateau of his wealthy friend Etienne Baudry, he
153
Rubin, Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, 66.
154 Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gustave Courbet, 316. Laurence des Cars.
155 Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 298.
156 Ibid, 298.
157
Rubin, Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, 8.
50


was able to send thirty three landscapes to the dealer Luquet.158 This transition has
been characterized as being a more effective, if more subtle, social tool159 by
Rubin, and as an implicit challenge to governmental power160 by Klaus Herding.
But another, more mundane, reading offers itself. Rather than being any kind of
subtle social tool, this transition in interest is better explained by basic marketing
issues.
Courbet turned to the creation of quantities of lesser genre art as a response to his
inability to find financial success in the sale of socially activist art. In the bourgeois
art market of the 1860s in France, moderately successful merchants were more likely
to purchase landscapes and still-lifes than was the government to purchase
monumental paintings for museums or palaces. By mid-summer of 1861 Courbet
was bragging to his family about the amounts of money his paintings were beginning
to realize, all of which were landscapes or hunting scenes of one sort or another.161
This trend towards financial gain rather than socialist commentary in the art itself
continued, and was even magnified after his participation in the Commune which led
to an unanticipated increase in the value of his paintings (which he was more than
happy to acknowledge) as will be discussed later in this chapter.
This was remarkably different from his attitude as a young man of twenty seven,
when he told his family with respect to the commercial aspects of portraiture, that
there is no way around it, if you have to earn money with stuff like that (portraits)
158 Wagner, Courbets Landscapes and their Market, 415.
159 Rubin, Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, 72.
160 Wagner, Courbets Landscapes and their Market, 411.
161 Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 197.
51


you would be better off turning a wheel, at least you would not have to give up your
convictions.162 However, convictions are mutable things, they change with time and
circumstances, and so they did for Courbet.
Evidently, Courbet himself was aware that these paintings were less desirable
aesthetically than were his previous monumental works and his significant figure
paintings. In 1861 he told Auguste Poulet-Malassis that as I did not want to send
only animals and landscapes to the Universal Exposition, I began a figure painting
that I hope to finish.163 This change to a market driven strategy was encouraged by
Champfleury when he told Max Buchon that Courbet should paint simple subjects,
landscapes of his own province; these are his true vocation; but great gods! Let him
avoid symbolism and satire for which he has no talent!164 Champfleurys comments
were borne out by the market. Upon Courbets death, great paintings such as Burial
at Ornans and The Studio remained unsold and had to be auctioned or donated by his
family.
It is here that we see the beginning of Courbets move from artistic activism to
political activism. In the post 1848 political climate in France, Courbet knew that
while works like Return From the Conference (his savage anti-clerical satire) would
never be accepted by the Salon, The Battle of the Stags and The Fox Hunt would be
quite politically acceptable.
162 Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 58.
163 Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 189.
164 Mack, Gustave Courbet, 186.
52


In his letter of June 1861 to his family, he goes to great lengths describing the
prices he was receiving for these sort of pieces. The paintings became, at best,
decorative, but decorative art is rarely good art. The resistance by the regime, and
hence, the artistic establishment, to acceptance of Courbets critical work is, in fact,
what led to the deeper cooperation between Courbet and Proudhon which would
come with their mutual interest in Return from the Conference.
Courbets hunting scenes are notably derivative. Capitalizing on the great
popularity of the English painter Edwin Landseer and that artists success at the
Exhibition Universelle of 1855, Courbet created his large hunting canvases.165 This
was a natural direction for Courbet to proceed as he had a great love of hunting and
the outdoors. Ever the studio painter, and working not from life but from carcasses
found in Paris, he created works which too often reflect those of the English master of
the genre, but reflect that masters work poorly. It is true that Landseers work is
more Romantic than Realist, and in his hunting scenes, Courbet transgresses his
Realist code and indulges himself in a bit of Romantic art, his homage to Landseer.
But, Courbets work pales in comparison to Deer and Deerhounds in a Mountain
Torrent, Study of a Dead Stag, and certainly in comparison to Landseers 1851
magnum opus, The Monarch of the Glen. Courbets kills, painted from taxidermy
specimens in Paris, are stiff and unconvincing.
One important facet of Courbets hunting scenes has been overlooked by every
major commentator for over a hundred years. Courbets paintings are actually not
about hunting. They are about killing, very much a different thing. As Fried noted in
165 Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gustave Courbet, 390. Laurence de Cars.
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Courbets Realism,166 Courbet, who painted himself into The Quarry, was essentially
an agent of pain and death.167 Courbet had a propensity for mass slaughter, I have
gone hunting about ten times. I killed this magnificent stag, four or five bucks, about
thirty hares,168 reciting a litany of death. By 1867, when Courbet painted Death of
the Stag, the viewer can see that, as Fried put it, the depiction of pain and violence
becomes increasingly explicit, with disturbing consequences for Courbets art.169
There is nothing honorable about abuse of the prey, nothing honorable about savagery
among the hounds as depicted by Courbet. The true hunter relishes the spirit of the
chase, the work of a good dog, the beauty of a fine firearm, the feeding of a family
through the hunters own efforts, and most importantly, the spirit of the hunted
animal itself. Courbets work memorializes none of these things. He memorializes
death, the kill, the corpse of the animal, his work is not an homage to Lanseer. It is
an homage to death. In fairness to Courbet, this reading of his work brings the
sensitivities of the twenty first century practices of hunting to bear on a nineteenth
century hunter and painter.
A review of his paintings of nudes indicates that, in these years, Courbets
relationships with women colored his artistic efforts. Like Proudhon, who firmly
believed that women were meant to be subservient to men, woman, who has neither
166 Frieds work in Courbets Realism has been criticized significantly by Roger
Kimball. In his Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Our Higher
Education (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2008) he points out that Frieds reading of The
Quarry presents an overly self referential vision of the painting. Additionally,
Frieds interpretation is held by Kimball to be too Freudian in nature, inserting sexual
issues into a work which, according to Kimball, have none. For an in-depth
discussion of this subject, see Roger Kimball, Tenured Radicals, 88-94.
167 Fried, Courbets Realism, 174.
168 Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 193.
169 Fried, Courbets Realism, 184.
54


aesthetic nor dialectic faculties, must be subject to and faithful to man,170 Courbet
accorded women a status that allowed for them to be little more than a sexual
convenience for men, or at the very least, for him.171 172 As he wrote to the man who
was arguably his closest long time friend, from whom he had almost no secrets, Max
Buchon, knowing there are women all over the world, I see no reason to carry one
with me. He considered himself to be quite handsome still, yet as he had for many
years, he preferred the attentions of prostitutes to meaningful relations with women.
I am as inclined to get married as I am to hang myself173 Despite his disinclination
to marry, or perhaps because of it, he did manage to sire an illegitimate son from one
of his liaisons, a son with whom he had little contact and who died young.174
As he recounted to Buchon in the same letter, here are the setbacks in my love
affairs.. .Jealousy on the part of Camelia.. .Rose in prison; Blanche will replace
her.. .mere Cadet in love with me175 All of whom are considered by Chu to be ladies
of a local brothel. By the early 1870s Courbet considered the keeping of a mistress
to be a simple affair of economics and convenience in which, due to his immense ego,
he could not conceive of rejection. Regarding his offer of same to a local woman, It
is impossible that Mile Leontine, despite the stupid advice she may receive from the
peasants, may not accept the brilliant position that I am offering her. She will be
indisputedly the most envied woman in France and she could be reborn another three
170
Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 231.
171
Mack, Gustave Courbet, 39.
172
Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 126.
173 Ibid, 52.
174 Mack, Gustave Courbet, 86.
175
Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 126.
55


times without ever coming across a position like this one,176 178 a heady offer indeed for
a woman of the provinces. Nevertheless, an offer which was rejected.
Although there may seem to the twenty first century observer to be a strong
Proudhonian influence in Courbets treatment of women, the influence, like much of
Proudhons influence on Courbet, was misunderstood by the painter. Siegel
represents in his 2008 essay Ambition, Commitment, and Subversion in Courbets
Realism, that there seems little reason to think that his views about women were
very far from those of his misogynist friend Proudhon. But, Proudhons attitudes,
although flawed and clearly misogynist, were intellectual in nature. He too treated
women with serious disregard, but his approach strongly differed from the
objectification which was the hallmark of Courbet. Proudhons relationship with
women in general was that of an intellectual superior to his intellectual inferiors. He
contended, in his posthumously published La Pornocratie, ou les femmes dans les
temps modems, that female Parisian society, in its attempt at securing sexual as well
1 78
as intellectual equivalency with men, was a precursor of societal devolution.
It is easy to see Courbets attitudes reflected in his nudes. He managed to slip
away from any artistic reference to the classic nudes of the past, no echo of the Venus
of Urbino in his work. Instead, Courbet took the painting of women away from the
classic to what can only be called erotic art, depictions with significant lesbian
overtones, to women objectified in the extreme. It would be difficult to find a more
1,0 Ibid, 466.
1 77
Jerrold Seigel, Ambition, Commitment, and Subversion in Courbets Realism,
Modem Intellectual History 5, no. 2 (2008): 398.
178
Hyams, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Revolutionary Life, Times and Work, 272.
56


objectified treatment of a womans body than we find in The Origin of the World, a
headless female torso bearing neither arms nor legs, but exposing clearly defined
genitalia and done in a style evocative of modern photo-realism. Unlike Manets
Olympia, which broke from the traditional model of the nude, and is considered by
T.J. Clark to be the founding monument of modern art,179 180 Courbets work was not
notably new with respect to formalistic aspects such as flatness of the scene, outlining
of the body, or frankness of the gaze, all of which differentiated Olympia from nudes
of the past. Art historian Michael Fried in Courbets Realism points out that this
change in the aspect of the gaze in Olympia actually puts the beholder at the
command of the subject, reversing the traditional power relationship. Courbets
Origin could not do the same. It privileges and empowers the masculine beholder at
the expense of the subject. As Fried put it with reference to Young Women, Courbet
has rendered the woman as an object (s) of masculine sexual possession.181 A
comparison of Origin with Olympia is particularly germane as Courbet took Manet to
task over that work, referring to it as formless and flat.182 Admittedly, Origin, along
with the lesbian inspired Sleep, was done on commission for Kalil Bey, a wealthy
patron of the arts with exotic tastes, who had been the Ottoman ambassador to the
179 T.J. Clark, The Painting of Modem Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His
Followers Revised Edition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), 79. For an
extensive discussion of Olympia see Clark (1999) pages 79 146.
180 Michael Fried, Courbets Realism, 201.
181 Ibid, 197.
182
Frederick Hartt, Art: A History of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture vol.2
(Englewood Cliffs and New York: Prentice-Hall, Harry N. Abrams, 1976), 359.
57


183
court of the Czar at St. Petersburg, and who kept the paintings in an enclosed space
for his private viewing. Still, for a painter who was justly famous for allowing no one
to define his art for him, ever, the treatment had to have come from within, as he
accepted no dictates from his customers, the government, or anyone else. Up until
the 1960s the painting entitled The Origin of the World was generally referred to as
an unnamed painting for a private collector, and never reproduced. Origin and Sleep
provide examples of what art historian Frederick Hart referred to as Courbets often
provocative nudes.183 184 Overall during these years, we see a movement away from
socially conscious art to art of a clearly mercantile nature, uninspired daubing which
sold well into the new bourgeois artworld which was growing in France.
It is difficult to determine precisely to what extent his political actions contributed
to this change in his art, and it would be imprudent to suggest that they were the only
causative factor. It can be argued that the marketing issues were significant, as were
the social conditions in France. The landscapes and portraits which Courbet created
did have a stronger market among the emerging middle classes who were now
purchasing art. These growing classes bought art that reflected their lives. The
transformation of art at this time can be viewed as representative of the Hegelian
model in which artists first represent a prior universal, transitioning to a particular
form of that universal, finally resolving into Realism.
183 Mack, Gustave Courbet, 213. Bey is characterized by T.J. Clark as the Turkish
admirer of Courbets erotic art. T.J. Clark, The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in
the Art of Manet and His Followers, 307.
184
Frederick Hartt, Art: A History of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, 354.
58


Additionally, the suggestion could be made that the deterioration in his art was
simply a natural effect of ageing. However, although that hypothesis is interesting, it
is difficult to either prove or disprove. Too many artists have created some of their
best works at advanced ages for that argument to be accepted without significant
research into a large number of artists and the work they produced at various times in
their lives, which is outside the scope of this thesis. Michaelangelo painted his Last
Judgment at age sixty six and was appointed to be the architect of St. Peters Basilica
at age seventy four. Monet painted his great series of the Houses of Parliament at
sixty four and Rembrandt was creating brilliant self portraits in his fifties, so there is
at least anecdotal evidence that age was not a significant factor for several notable
artists. Any of these forces could have contributed to the deterioration noted, but the
deterioration itself is evident. Fried observes in Courbets Realism that his work had
become relatively undistinguished well before his establishment of a workshop for
producing mediocre landscapes185 which occurred in the 1870s. Whether the
changes in his art were due to politics, markets or ageing, the deterioration of the art
itself is evident.
The Actions
There is only one documented case of a meeting between Courbet and Proudhon
subsequent to Proudhons release from prison in 1852. That meeting was on the
occasion of Courbets personally mounted exposition G. Courbet. Exposition de
quarante tableaux de ses oeuvres (1855). This exhibition, a commercial and critical
Fried, Courbets Realism, 2.
59


failure,186 presented Proudhon with his opportunity to make his previously noted
observations regarding Courbets gifts as a painter as well as his notable ego. Any
other assertions regarding time spent together by these two men are strictly anecdotal
in nature and are assumed to exist only by those who presume unrecorded interactions
at bohemian haunts. Did both men patronize the Brasserie Andler? Certainly, it was
famous among the Parisian literati and both men are named as regular patrons in the
literature.187 188 Is it valid to deduce from that fact that the two men were in personal
contact? Certainly not, Proudhons attentions were involved elsewhere.
By 1863 Courbet and Proudhon were becoming closer, at least according to
Courbet, with respect to the sense of collaboration, if not intimacy, as it was then
that Proudhon began work on his posthumously published work Du principe de l art.
This extensive philosophical essay had begun its life as a brief pamphlet intended to
defend and explain Courbets scandal plagued Return from the Conference (a
depiction of all seven deadly sins being committed by a troop of Catholic priests)189
which had been rejected by the Salon of 1863 at the direction of the Ministry of the
Interior, and was destined for an exhibition in London.
Inasmuch as Proudhon had himself been jailed by the government for works like
What is Property?, De la Justice, and his essays in Le Representant du Peuple and
other anarchist publications, it is not surprising that he would be willing to undertake
such a task, especially since it was initially intended as a four page pamphlet. Prior to
186
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gustave Courbet, 434. Notes.
187 Mack, Gustave Courbet, 59.
188
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gustave Courbet, 436. Notes.
189
Hyams, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Revolutionary Life, Mind and Works, 264.
60


1863, in all his correspondence, Courbet mentions Proudhon only three times, mainly
having to do with his intended depiction of the philosopher in The Studio (or, its
notably more cumbersome full title, The Painters Studio, A True Allegory
Summarizing a Period of Seven Years in my Life as an Artist).
Few records remain of Courbets assassinating Proudhon with letters, possibly
due to purposeful destruction of them. But one extant letter, that of the summer of
1863 may stand as representative of what Proudhon meant. In that letter Courbet
imparts his pearls of wisdom to Proudhon in the form of forty six aphorisms
concerning all manner of subjects, The man who spends his life amassing a fortune
has no business in the intellectual world...The sons of (rich) families have no idea
how to use their money.. .One must become a millionaire.. .The extreme love one
may feel for a woman is sickness.. .Work requires the domination of the senses and
the preservation of ones authority over the woman.190 Given some uncertainties
regarding exact dates, this may well be the letter which occasioned Proudhons
outburst. Proudhons deteriorating health in these final years of his life kept the work
from being published until after his death.
Three years after the death of Proudhon, Courbet began his era of public political
commentary with the publishing of two pamphlets attacking the Catholic Church, Les
Cures en goguette, and La Mort de Jeannot: Les Frais du culte. These pamphlets
were meant to accompany his paintings of the same names during their exposition at
190 Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 228-231.
61


the 1868 Ghent Salon.191 He also wrote, but failed to publish, his first written, public
social commentary Opinions etpropos dun citoyen dOmans.192
The political myth that Courbet created in 1871 was a reinvention of himself in the
form to which he aspired: dedicated socialist, man of action, man of the people. In
his profession defoi which he publicly announced in his open letter to the editor of La
Rappel while campaigning for political office in the Commune, he overstated his
contributions to the rising of 1848, claiming that in 1848 he hoisted the flag of
Realism (and) ...started a socialist club, as opposed to the clubs of the Jacobins,
Montagnards, and others, whom I called republicans without natures of their
own.193 The republic one, indivisible, and authoritarian was frightening.194
The term republican in early and mid nineteenth century France represented
parties which espoused a progressive agenda. In the heady days of the French
Revolution, the Jacobins and Montagnards were considered to be left-leaning
affiliations which opposed the French monarchy, and fought, often with extreme
violence, to create the First French Republic. Even in 1848, the Jacobins and
Montagnards (the social-democrats of their day) opposed the right-leaning Parti
dOrdre (the Party of Order).
In his manifesto of 1871, Courbet attempts to give the impression that even such
leftist groups as these were insufficiently socialist, insufficiently activist,
insufficiently revolutionary to merit his participation with them. Paris of 1848 was
191 Ibid, 341.
192 Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gustave Courbet, 437. Notes.
193
Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 413.
194 Ibid, 413
62


filled with underground societies, the Rights of Man, The Families, the Central
Republican Society, the Revolutionary Club, all socialist, some revolutionary, none of
which claimed Courbet as a member. According to Courbet in 1871, the descendents
of the sans-culottes of 1793 had become for Courbet too soft to merit his attention.
This is a strong denunciation of the republic to be sure, seemingly necessary for
election to the Commune, which speaks to the radicalism of the Communards. In
point of fact, prior to his efforts at this 1871 reinvention of self, Courbet had very
little to do with the rising of 1848. As T.J. Clark discusses in his Image of the
People: Not a trace of activity in the clubs, Socialist or otherwise, has come down to
us; hardly a trace of political activity on the streets.195 In 48, Courbet was much too
concerned with his own affairs, as we have seen from his letters, to involve himself in
radical, activist politics. That would have to wait until 1871.
Unlike his friend Baudelaire, who had fought at the barricades in February of 1848
as well as during the bloody June Days,196 197 Courbet was a non-combatant during the
fighting of both 1848 and 1871. In this, he mirrored the position of his idol,
Proudhon. During the siege of Paris by the Pmssians, Courbet was reported to have
been seen most frequently...at the famous tavern of Pere Laveur according to
Courbet associate and medical officer Dr. Pierre Boyer. This lack of combat service
195 Clark, Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the Revolution of 1848, 47.
196 Mack, Gustave Courbet, 49.
197 Ibid, 247,248.
63


(on either side of the struggles) was significant to the artists of the day and is noted,
198
with examples of each course of action, in the literature.
While on the one hand, Manet defended Paris during the siege, Delacroix, with
respect to the French Revolution, felt compelled to explain to his brother, General
Charles Delacroix,* that if I have won no victories for my country at least I can paint
for it.198 199 Willingness to face the danger of armed combat was either a source of
pride or of regret and stilted explanation for the men of the era.
Courbet had always gone out of his way to avoid serving in the military his entire
life. At age twenty one, after being assigned a low conscription number, he contrived
to be found unfit for duty. I must tell you that I appeared before the (military)
examining board on the morning of Saturday the 20th. I played my role so well that
these gentlemen were unable to reach a decision200.. .1 really dont know how I was
able to stutter like that, for I did not say a single word properly.. .Well, now, I have to
tell you that I made fantastic preparations for it. First, I did not go to bed, then I had a
bottle of cognac sent up to my room and I drank it in a punch; I also smoked twenty
pipes and drank two or three cups of coffee,201 behaviors practically guaranteeing
that he would fail the examination.
198 Observations on the combat activities of numerous intellectuals of the era can be
found in Mack (1951), Woodcock (1956), and Boime (1995).
199 Jean Stewart, tr., ed., Eugene Delacroix, Selected Letters 1813-1863, (Boston:
MFA Publications, a division of the Museum of Fine Arts, 2001), 162. Here he was
commenting on his famous Liberty Leading the People. His brother, to whom the
letter is addressed was a General and French war hero.
200 He was referred for a second examination and was eventually ruled unfit for
military duty.
201
Chu, Letters of Gustave Courbet, 35.
64


But, by the time of the elections to the Commune, to be seen as having been as
active as possible in the revolution of 1848 was required for aspiring politicians,
which Courbet now was. His reinvention appears to have succeeded, he was elected
to represent the sixth arrondissement.
1871 was the decisive year for Courbet and his actions, not his art, were destined
to change his life in the most significant manner. 1871 was the year of turmoil, war,
revolution, and the Commune. In 1871 Courbet put his paint brush aside and, in
emulation of his philosopher-hero became completely involved in revolutionary
politics to the exclusion of all else. Writing and politicking became the order of the
day. The events of 1870 were the genesis of the Commune of 1871.
On July 19, 1870, Louis Napoleon of France declared war on Prussia and within
less than two months was captured, along with his entire army, at the Battle of Sedan
(Sept. 2, 1870). Quickly acting to reconstitute a government, on September 4th, the
new French Republic declared the existence of the Government of National Defense,
continuing the war into 1871. Within two days Courbet assumed the first of his
political positions, that of president of the Art Commission, tasked with preservation
of the great artworks of France.202 In a significant change for the man who would
previously have nothing to do with government in any form, Courbet was now an
agent of the government. The final act of the conflict was the siege of Paris which
began on September 19, 1870, and which ended on January 1, 1871 when the
Government of National Defense, represented by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jules
202 Mack, Gustave Courbet, 243.
65


Favre, sued for peace. To the people of Paris, the Government of National Defense
had become a Government of National Surrender, which Paris refused to do.
In the nationwide elections of February 8, 1871 the French electorate as a whole
brought to power a moderate to conservative republican regime which was
unacceptable to the Parisian Deputies. The French vote as a whole was clearly a
vote for peace203 according to Simpson and Jones, but peace was not to be for some
time. The people of Paris took to the streets and Gustave Courbet took to his pen and
to his committees.
March 19, 1871 saw the issuance of the Communards Manifesto of the Twenty
Arrondissements of Paris, which declared that they were reviving the tradition of the
Communes of old and of the French Revolution,204 and blood was soon to run in the
streets of Paris, just as it did in 1793. As in 1793 and later in 1848, moderate
elements deserted the cause quickly, leaving the field to the radicals as Parisians took
to the barricades. Communists and anarchists, Marxists and Proudhonians, all took
aim at the elected French government. Much as German nationalists in the 1930s
denounced the newly organized (post Kaiser) German government which had
surrendered to the French in the Great War as the November Criminals, the leftists
of the Commune in 1871, with equal imprecision and unfairness, denounced the
203 William Simpson and Martin Jones, Europe 1783-1914, 2nd Ed. (London/New
York: Routledge, 2009), 328.
204 Ibid, 341.
66


French government which surrendered to the Prussians as the Government of
National Defection.205
For Courbet, the Commune was his opportunity to issue public statements,
participate in bureaucratic commissions and run for political office, all of which he
took to eagerly. As opposed to his inaction in 1848, when he found nothing
emptier than politics, now politics was to become his metier. The Bonapartist cut-
throats206 now ruled France, and it was the duty of the diligent revolutionary to take
them to task.
He began his politically significant public correspondence just prior to the
outbreak of the war, and it was the letters that he wrote prior to the existence of the
Commune that helped to convict him of his actions during that later period. Finally
having been offered the Legion of Honor after many years of denial by the
government, Courbet took the opportunity on June 23 of 1870 to publicly renounce
the honor and denounce the government which offered it to him. Taking the
government to task in his open letter of renunciation, Courbet declared that his
opinions as a citizen do not allow me to accept a title that derives essentially from a
monarchic order..My artists feeling also goes against my accepting an award that is
205
Max Eastman, ed., Capital, The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings by Karl
Marx (New York: The Modern Library, 1959), 382. rl Marx, The Civil War in
France (1871) This text of The Civil War in France (1871) was written by Marx and
read by him to the General Council of the International Working Mens Association
on May 30, 1871.
206 Eastman, Capital, The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings by Karl Marx,
383.
67


907
granted to me at the hand of the state, a truly Proudhonian remark. This letter
marks the onset of his public political posturing of the 1870s.
By the time of the siege of Paris and the initiation of the Government of National
Defense, Courbet wrote the letter which was to doom him in the eyes of the
government upon the suppression of the Commune. On September 14, 1870 Courbet
first publicly demanded the destruction of the Vendome Column, the act which was to
result in his trial and imprisonment. The letter became the subject of much legal
wrangling during his trial, at which he claimed to have not been, technically, involved
in the destruction. He wrote to the Government of National Defense under the aegis
of his position as the president of the Parisian Artists Committee. In it he declared
that the Vendome Column was .. .a monument devoid of any artistic value, tending
by its character to perpetuate the ideas of wars and conquests [and, that he should be]
authorize [d] to unbolt that column, or to take itself [the government] the initiative
thereto.207 208 This letter was to be his undoing.
He followed up his request with another letter to the government on October 5,
1870 in which he described the column as being as out of place as a howitzer in a
ladys drawing room,209 a commendable remark from a man who was much more
articulate as a painter than as a writer. He even admitted to his wish for the columns
destruction in correspondence to his father, when he told the family that I wanted to
have the Vendome Column demolished. I could not get the government to grant it,
207 Chu, The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 378.
208 Ibid, 388.
209 tu.-j om
68


91A
though the people were for it. Although the elected government of France would
not accede to the demand, the organizers of the Commune were happy to oblige.
During the long days of the siege of Paris Courbet produced a public letter to the
Prussian army and to the artists of Germany, in which he espoused the socialist
perspective of an end to all nationalism, dissolution of the border between France and
Germany and the creation of a replacement for the Vendome Column in the form of a
monumental column, composed of the melted down remains of both partys cannons.
His new, borderless Europe would be created when together they would throw down
the bleeding boundary stones... that severed groups of people of the same stock. 210 211 212
Nine days after the official proclamation of the Commune on March 28th, Courbet
wrote his famous open letter to the artists of Paris. We are avenged! Paris has saved
France from dishonor and humiliation.. .Today Paris is free and its own master while
the provinces are in bondage.. .The cruelest Prussians, those who exploited the poor,
were at Versailles. In this letter, published in the Journal ojficiel de la Commune,
the letter in which he referred to Proudhon as the Christ of the revolution, Courbet
took the step of equating the elected national government of France with the Prussian
oppressors, the victors in the recent war who had besieged Paris.
There was considerable controversy at the time with respect to the legitimacy of
that government. On February 8th 1871 nationwide elections were held in order to
select a government which would be in a position to either accept or reject the French
210 Ibid, 405.
211 Ibid, 399.
212 Ibid, 408.
69


surrender to the Prussians. According to historian Alistair Horne, Parisians believed
themselves to have been effectively disenfranchised, at least insofar as not having
been given the freest choice of candidates, due to the nature of the election rules. The
French election rules at the time were based on the 1849, Second Republic rules. '
These electoral regulations allowed for universal suffrage, but mandated voting
methodology in the precincts of Paris which the left found objectionable. The forty
three seats allocated to Paris were all at-large seats, not allocated by arrondissement,
keeping the Parisians from voting into office all of their favorite leaders. Yet, the
nationwide elections were relatively free of compulsion despite the fact that
electioneering itself was banned in certain departments occupied by the Prussians. In
Paris itself, vigorous electioneering took place for eight days with what Horne
characterizes as great heat and confusion...with an impressive multiplicity of
programs.213 214
The result of that election was an overwhelming victory215 for the more
conservative, rural provinces, which was, as previously noted, a vote for peace.216
According to historian Robert Tombs, the Franco-Prussian war had greatly
exacerbated the long-standing division between the urban centers and the rural areas
of France.217 The delegates at the National Assembly voted 546 to 107 for the
resulting government, in which Adolphe Thiers was named as Chief of the Executive
213 Alistair Horne, The Fall of Paris: the Siege and the Commune 1870-71 (London:
Penguin Books, 2007), 254.
214 Home, The Fall of Paris: The Siege and the Commune 1870-71, 254.
215 Ibid, 254.
216 Simpson and Jones, Europe 1783-1914, pg. 328.
217 Robert Tombs, The Paris Commune 1871 (New York: Pearson Education, 1999),
62.
70


Power. In this vote, 37 of the 43 Parisian deputies voted on the losing side, and six of
them resigned in protest.
There resulted a series of actions which compounded the disenchantment of the
Parisians. These moves consisted of overt changes in the law, a decision on the new
location of the National Assembly, and a significant inaction on the part of the Thiers
government. The National Assembly first proceeded to vote new laws imposing ex
-y i o
post facto death sentences, suppression of leftist journals, disbanding and ending
the pay of the National Guard, and ordering the repayment of debts over the next
three months,218 219 which essentially would reduce much of the population to penury.220 221
In addition to the new ordnances, the government moved from Bordeaux to Versailles
on March 20th, rather than to Paris, considered to be an insult by the Parisians. Horne
offers the observation that, considering the inflamed and disordered state of
affairs in Paris, the move to Versailles may have been prudent. Robert Tombs
notes several circumstances that possibly contributed to that decision. On February
24th a policeman was caught by Parisians, beaten, thrown into the Seine and pushed
under with boathooks until he drowned.222 On March 18th the attempt by the Thiers
government to secure the cannons on Montmartre resulted in violence which
culminated in the executions of generals Lecomte and Thomas.223 Overall, several of
218 After the establishment of the Commune, the Communards in turn suppressed the
right wing papers Le Figaro and Le Gaulois. Horne, 304.
219
Tombs suggests that the Parisians, similar to some later historians, misunderstood
the debts to be repaid immediately, contributing to their ire.
220 Horne, The Fall of Paris: The Siege and the Commune 1870-71, 260.
221 Ibid, 261.
222 Tombs, The Paris Commune 1871, 64.
71


the parts of the city became no-go areas, from which police and regular troops had to
be withdrawn.224
Perhaps the most significant decision by the Thiers government was the previously
mentioned inaction. The vote of March 26th was very specifically not endorsed by the
National Assembly, resulting in a boycott by many of the more moderate voters and
additional anger among the Parisians who voted for the Commune.225 Although this
decision may have been a poor one and contributed greatly to the ensuing violence,
like the choice to move to Versailles, it had some measure of rationality behind it. On
March 3rd the Central Committee of the National Guard had an influx of
revolutionary socialists, one of whom, named Varlin, claimed that in two or three
weeks the city will be controlled by socialist battalion commanders.. .Another week
and we shall be masters of 17 arrondissements (sic) out of 20...the three others will
do nothing to stop us. Then we shall chase the prefecture of police out of Paris,
overthrow the government, and France will follow us.226 It is difficult to ascertain
how much of that statement was factual and how much was theatricality. However,
the fact that assertions such as that were being made indicates that Theirs decision
had some basis in reason. These considerations regarding the election, the vote for
peace, the new laws and the onerous choices by the Theirs government contributed to
the fact that to Courbet and his fellow Communards, their own national government
was the oppressor, as much as the Prussians.
224
225
226
Ibid, 64.
Ibid, 69.
Ibid, 65.
72


To put Courbets perspective into context we may ask what positions were taken
by other French intellectuals towards the Commune? According to Henrietta Psichari
in her review of the actions of French intellectuals, the revolt of the Communards was
viewed with disdain by many of them. Flaubert considered their actions to be stupid
convulsions from a destructive mob.227 229 In response to the Communes actions to
eliminate the payment of rents he wrote to George Sand that now government
meddles in Natural Law and interferes in contracts between individuals...It seems to
me that we have never sunk lower. Similar feelings were expressed by George
Sand and Edmond de Goncourt. George Sand remarked that we are threatened here
by bandits and stealthy people who are more to be feared than the German
soldiers. For Taine and Renan, the less inventive and creative but infinitely
brainy contemporaries of Flaubert and Baudelaire,230 their prior political antipathy
was replaced by a regret at the fall of the Empire.231 Not all intellectuals shared the
feelings of Courbet and his fellow Communards.
The period of the Commune was marked by violence on both sides of the
barricades, neither Communards nor Versaillese (the nomenclature for the elected
French national government)232 being adverse to indiscriminate killing. Unlike
modem asymmetrical warfare, in which one side has notable military superiority over
227 Henrietta Psichari, French Writers and the Commune, The Massachusetts
Review 12, no. 3 (Summer 1971): 537.
Rupert Christiansen, Paris Babylon: The Story of the Paris Commune (New
York: Penguin Books, 1996), 300.
229 Ibid, 536.
230 W.M. Frobock, Trauma and Recoil: The Intellectuals, The Massachusetts
Review 12, no. 3 (Summer 1971): 528.
231 Ibid, 529.
232 This nomenclature is due to the fact that the French government moved itself to
Versailles, considered by Parisians to be an affront.
73


the other, both Communards and Versaillese used cannons and the early predecessor
of the machine-gun, the mitrailleuse,233 to great effect. The violence commenced on
the night of March 17, 1871, when the government at Versailles attempted to
confiscate the artillery on Montmartre which was in the possession of the National
Guard.234 Elements of the government army mutinied, refusing to obey the
commands of their officers, and executing generals Lecomte and Thomas.
The fighting in the streets was to continue until La Semaine Sanglante (Bloody
Week), ultimately terminating on May 28th. The final days of the violence ending
with the Communards executing their hostages, including Archbishop Darboy, the
Archbishop of Paris, and torching the Tuileries as they retreated from the oncoming
government troops. Reprisals followed, with trials, executions, and deportations of
captured Communards.
Just two weeks prior to La Semaine Sanglante, the Commune ordered the
destruction of the Vendome Column, the act which would ultimately result in
Courbets incarceration. His participation, despite his later denials at his trial, was
clear. It was reported in the Journal Officiel of the Commune that on April 27th
Citizen Courbet demanded that the decree of the Commune with respect to the
demolition of the Vendome Column be put into effect.235 Yet, it is also clear that
233 An early version of the machine-gun, of roughly the same era as the more famous
Gatling Gun, but operated without the need for rotating barrels. It was a devastating
anti-personnel weapon in close quarters.
234 Mack, Gustave Courbet, 252.
235 Ibid, 267.
74


Courbet was not a signatory of the order of destruction.236 In an article safely written
six days after Courbets death when it could do him no further harm, fellow
Communard Jules Valles, writing under the pseudonym Jean de la Rue while in exile
in England, said that The day that the column was toppled, he was there, at the
Place, with his twenty-sou cane, his four-franc straw hat, his ready-made
overcoat... Itll crush me when it falls, youll see! he said, turning to a group of
friends.237 By June 7th Courbet was arrested while hiding at a friends apartment and
brought to trial before the Third Council of War, convicted, and sent to Sainte Pelagie
prison. In a largely ineffective defense, his lawyer Lachaud could offer no more
compelling reason for exoneration than to tell the jury that he is a big child who is
incapable of putting together two political ideas,238 a characterization which would
follow Courbet for the rest of his life and which had some degree of merit, despite its
failure to free him. Courbet had accomplished much by this time, so in context, his
lawyers remark seems to be patronizing.
Compared to the death sentences and deportations to New Caledonia in the South
Pacific which his compatriots suffered, Courbet was sentenced to the relatively short
prison term of six months, the last two of which he served in the hospital due to a
bout with hemorrhoids.
236 Jack Lindsay, Gustave Courbet: His Life and Art (London: Jupiter Books, 1977),
261.
237 Linda Nochlin, The De-Politicization of Gustave Courbet: Transformation and
Rehabilitation under the Third Republic, October 22 (Autumn 1982): 76.
238 Ting Chang, Rewriting Courbet: Silvestre, Courbet, and the Bruyas Collection
after the Paris Commune, Oxford Art Journal 21, no. 1, (1998): 108.
75


In his rehabilitative defense of Courbet, A Plea for a Dead Friend, published in
1882 well after Courbets death, his ever faithful friend Jules Castagnary* made the
claim that the monument, which was (according to Castagnary) more Napoleonic than
French National, was destroyed on the orders of a government which gives orders
'y'lQ
and finds the agents to carry them out, a disingenuous remark at best. Castagnary
attributes the destruction to what he perceives to be the legitimate actions of a
legitimate government. The Commune was nothing of the sort. It was a
revolutionary construct which was against the wishes of the vast majority of the
people of France who had spoken clearly in the elections of February of 1871.
The disingenuousness of the observation is no less than that exhibited by Courbet
in his defense at trial when he observed that the order for the destruction of the
column was issued on April 12, 1871, and he was not formally elected to the body
until four days later. An assertion which would have the jury ignore the fact that he
had been publicly calling for the destruction to be carried out since September 14,
1870. In his journal entry of September 18, 1870 Edmond de Goncourt recorded that
in a public meeting the painter Courbet advocated the destruction of the column.239 240
By April, of 1871 events had simply provided him with the political entity required to
have his wishes carried out.
Subsequent to his conviction, public opinion in literary circles, even among his
close associates, changed regarding Courbet. Alexandre Dumas fils indicated serious
239 Alda Cannon and Frank Anderson Trapp, Castagnarys A Plea for a Dead
Friend Gustave Courbet and the Destruction of the Vendome Column, The
Massachusetts Review 12, no. 3 (Summer, 1971): 503.
240 Christiansen, Paris Babylon: The Story of the Paris Commune), 186.
76


contempt for the painter in his 1871 remarks. What mythological coupling between
a slug and a peacock, what genetic antithesis, what sebaceous oozing, for example,
could have produced this thing that one calls Monsieur Gustave Courbet?241 Not to
be outdone in the condemnation of the Communards, Flaubert, his one time associate,
wrote to George Sand that we should have sent the entire Commune to the galleys
and forced these bloody imbeciles to clean up the ruins of Paris.242 243 Theophile
Silvestre, the art critic, in a letter to Alfred Bruyas, Courbets greatest long time
patron, told Bruyas that Courbet was a parricidal, flatulent, bestial, fat,
jA'i
vulgar...walking beer barrel.. .a Communist Falstaff. And finally Manet, the only
one of the literati who attended the trial in person, wrote to Theodore Duret that He
behaved like a coward in front of the Tribunal and is no longer worthy of any
interest.244 Courbets larger than life persona and significant body of work no longer
dazzled even his close friends and fellow artists.
These literary daggers, however much they may have stung Courbets immense
ego, could not match the damage to Courbet caused by Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier,
head of the jury for the 1872 Salon, who totally banished him from the Salon,
claiming that we must reject M. Courbet from our midst; for us he must be
considered dead,245which amounted to the requiem for the painters career as a
serious artist. He would never again participate in the great French Salon. Courbet,
241 Change, Rewriting Courbet: Silvestre, Courbet, and the Bruyas Collection after
the Paris Commune, 109. Here Chang cites Alexandre Dumas (fils) Une lettre sur
les choses du jour (Paris 1871).
242
Ibid, 109. Chang cites Gustave Flaubert Correspondence.
243 Ibid, 111. Chang cites Theophile Silvestre, letter to Alfred Bruyas.
244 Ibid, 109. Chang cites Eduard Manet letter to Theodore Duret, August 22, 1871.
245 Ibid, 110. Chang cites Jean-Louis-Emest Meissonier Le Figaro (April 10, 1872).
77


in his desire to emulate the personal political activism of Proudhon had inextricably
associated his art with his politics for the last time, and now he would forever live
with the consequences of that act.
It could be argued that Courbets leftist positions were more the source of his
problems than the mere fact of taking political positions in general. Other artists took
strong political positions and fared much better at the hands of the government and
the viewing public. Meissonier, who was sufficiently powerful to ban Courbet from
the Salon, supported the forces of order in both 1848 and 1871. During the revolution
of 1848 Meissonier was a captain of artillery in the National Guard, defending the
Hotel de Ville against attack by what he referred to as the insurrection.246 It was
that experience which caused him to create La Barricade (Fig. 2), his depiction of
death in the streets. The painting, also known as Souvenir de guerre civile, shows
what art historian Constance Cain Hungerford refers to as the grim outcome of
resistance to established order as a fearful reminder to those who might contemplate
such actions in the future.247 248
Meissoniers pro-government, anti-insurgency perspective continued well into his
later life, resulting in his creation of a substantial body of military themed works,
particularly representing the triumphs of Napoleon. This conservative political
position espoused by Meissonier was hardly unique to the period according to
Albert Boime, who considers the depictions in paint and photography of the
246 Constance Cain Hungerford, Meissoniers Souvenir de la guerre civile, The Art
Bulletin 61, no. 2 (June, 1979): 282.
247 Ibid, 284.
248 Albert Boime, Art and the French Commune: Imagining Paris After War and
Revolution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), 62.
78


destroyed Tuileries to be a warning against future revolution.249 250 He observes that
with few exceptions, the painters, their patrons, and their contemporary apologists
belonged to the moderate republican faction. The list of artists who took the more
conservative perspective includes Degas and Renoir, who served in the French army
against the Prussians and acquired important patrons for his later work. Boime
further argues that the defeat of the Commune, the victory of the forces of order, and
the support by Degas and Renoir251 252 for those forces, was significant in the genesis of
the Impressionist movement. He suggests that the killings and the deportations, the
immense toll of human suffering led these and other impressionists to commit
themselves to the erasing of its memory.
This is not to say that the Impressionist movement was composed entirely of the
more politically conservative artists, Monet and Pissarro were both sympathetic to
Courbet and the Communards. However, it is arguable, as articulated by Boime, that
the overall perspective of the artists of France in the wake of the destruction was that
of a return to normalcy and an eradication of the physical memory of the Commune.
This was the mandate to the Impressionists during a period of conservative political
backlash. Impressionism retraces the damaged sites of the Commune, urban
intersections, parks, and streets and represents them as bright, flourishing spaces.253
Ibid, 64
Ibid, 12, 13.
249
250
251 Also according to Boime, Renoir was at one point nearly shot by the Communards
as a suspected spy. Boime, 51.
252
253
Ibid, 51.
Ibid, 45.
79


Courbet was not politically representative of the majority of French artists and
intellectuals of the time. Although some of them took political positions, they were
relatively mild in comparison to those of Courbet. Courbet was unique among
significant French artists in his level of political activism as evidenced by his active
participation in the Commune and his insistence on the destruction of the column.
Only Pissarro exhibited similar feelings but he sat out the Franco-Prussian War and
the time of the Commune in London, as did Monet.254 * Rupert Christiansen in his
history of the Commune suggests that the perspective Law against Crime, was
held by most French intellectuals. As Flaubert put it; As for the Commune, which is
in its death throes, its the latest manifestation of the Middle Ages. Will it be the last?
Lets hope so! Edmond de Goncourt offered that the Parisians were the most
257
abominable moral cowards that I have ever known.
However, the intellectual voices were not universal in their condemnation. Victor
Hugo, arguably the most significant French intellectual to sympathize with the
Communards, helped to inspire the Parisians. Yet, he chose not to go so far as to
actually join them, relocating to Brussels for the duration.258 These decisions
regarding support or criticism of the Commune were to play out to the assistance or
injury of the various writers and artists. The more conservative went on to continue
with successful careers. The nine contemporary French artists considered by Boime
to be the initial core of Impressionism all took the opportunity after the fall of the
254
255
256
257
258
Ibid, 50.
Christiansen, Paris Babylon: the Story of the Paris Commune, 307.
Ibid, 330.
Ibid, 335.
Home, The Fall of Paris: The Siege and the Commune 1870-71, 297.
80


Commune to court favor with the national government and to seize (d) the moment
to establish their careers.259 Courbet was not in a position to do so. He was a victim
of having chosen the losing side.
On May 30, 1873, two years after the excesses of the Commune, the French
Assembly passed a bill authorizing the restoration of the column, the bill to be sent to
Courbet,260 a move which he fought in court for four years. Final judgment was
rendered by the court on May 4, 1877, charging Courbet to pay 323 thousand francs,
an impossible sum. A ruling forcing confiscation of his property followed on June
19th. In this atmosphere of unrelenting criticism, and fearing further imprisonment,
Courbet fled to Switzerland, crossing the border by way of Fleurier and settling in La
Tour-de-Peilz, at a rented lakeshore home called Bon Port. These final days in
Switzerland witnessed Courbets deterioration, both physically and artistically, his
waistline having grown to an astonishing sixty inches.261 According to Mack he had
been a fairly heavy drinker of beer and wine all his life, but never before had the
compulsion to drink been irresistible.262 His evenings were spent in great bouts of
drinking, the effects of which he slept off the next day in lieu of painting.
259
Ibid, 8. Those nine contemporary artists, per Home, were Manet, Degas, Pissarro,
Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Bazille, Cezanne, and Morisot.
260 Ibid, 314.
261 Ibid, 356.
262 Ibid, 325.
81


Fig. 9: Jules Gremaud photo, 1876
It was bad enough that he had spent years generating redundant canvases of
dubious distinction, now he did not even paint them himself. In an act which he
would have abhorred in his socialist glory days, he hired three assistants, allowing
them to paint works which would be sold as Courbets. And this was not just the
long-time practice of allowing assistants to paint certain figures or insignificant
portions of background as had been traditional in schools of painting for centuries.
According to Mack, he was willing to palm off on unsuspecting purchasers works
to 263 which he had only added a few daubs of paint, or perhaps, only signed. He told
his sisters Juliette and Zelie in April of 73 that I pay them (his assistants) a
percentage on the paintings they prepare for me,264 adding in an interestingly
263 Ibid, 312.
264 Chu, The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 496.
82


capitalist aside that the Commune would have me be a millionaire. An interest
which is not surprising when one considers that he had been investing on the Bourse
since 1856.265
It would seem that, although he had entered into the activities of the Commune for
the most altruistic and political of motives, he claimed that the effect on the
marketability of his later work was substantially positive, as he wrote to Castagnary;
had I become a member of the Commune for the express purpose, I would never
have been so successful.266 This remark, like so much of Courbets writings, must
be taken with some measure of skepticism as he was in significant financial difficulty
up to the end of his life and there is no record of any substantial sums earned either
through his own efforts of those of his surrogates.
In his final years, Courbet himself was to realize the amount of time he was
spending on an inferior genre, telling Castagnary: We have done many landscapes,
one cannot do anything else in Switzerland. 267 Chu observed that during the final
years of life, Courbet awash in alcohol produced nothing of real merit.268 The
notable, and sole, exception to this litany of dismissible art being a wonderful portrait
of his father in his old age, which is reminiscent of Courbets early efforts at
portraiture. Somehow, Courbet managed to find the skill and the will to create a
work of beauty and affection, worthy of the 1848 Salon, depicting his aging father as
a man still filled with a powerful dignity.
265 See Mack (1951) 124, and Chu (1992) 149.
266 Chu, The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 493.
267 Chu, The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 522.
268
Chu, The Most Arrogant Man in France: Gustave Courbet and the Nineteenth
Century Media Culture, 17.
83


Fig. 10: Portrait of Regis Courbet, Gustave Courbet, 1874
During his time in prison and all the years thereafter in Switzerland, Courbet only
painted one canvas representative of the Commune, his Self Portrait in Sainte Pelagie
prison. In it, we see a man who has lost a great deal of weight, was in poor health,
and shares with his earlier portraits not too much more than the pipe and the vaguely
distant expression. His only nod to revolution is his red scarf.
Gustave Courbet died in self imposed exile on December 31, 1877, one day before
his first payment on the rebuilding of the Vendome Column was due. His sister Zoe,
who assisted him so greatly during his imprisonment and hospitalization told a friend
84


in a letter that he should never have held public office, never have presided over a
meeting, never have joined the Commune.269
Fig. 11: Self-Portrait at Sainte Pelagie, Gustave Courbet, 1871/72
269 Mack, Gustave Courbet, 291.
85


CHAPTER FIVE: COURBET AND PROUDHON ASYMMETRY AND
EMULATION
She (Madame Proudhon) knows how close her husband and I were, she knows the
limitless devotion that I had for him270 271 The end of the nineteenth century has there
its beacon, which will rise above the masses, ever brighter. The nineteenth
century has just lost its guiding force and the man who embodied it.272 Wiser than
man, his learning and his courage were without equal.273
Gustave Courbet 1865
I have received an enormous letter from Courbet. I believe he went looking in the
oldest grocers shop in Ornans for the dirtiest, yellowest, coarsest schoolboys
exercise book in order to write to me. One would believe that the letter belonged to
the century of Gutenberg. Ink to match. Courbet does not write often, but when he
sets himself to it, beware! This time he covered no less than fourteen pages with the
dregs of wine.274 I do not propose here to become the advocate or sponsor of M.
Courbets caprices.275
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon 1863
These days I am in correspondence with Proudhon. Together we are writing an
important work that makes the connection between my art and his philosophy and
between his work and mine.276
Gustave Courbet 1863
Yes, decidedly, he is stupid!277
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon 1863
270
Chu, The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 256.
271 Ibid, 256.
272 Ibid, 257.
273 Ibid, 257
274 Woodcock, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 258.
275 Mack, Gustave Courbet, 182.
276 Chu, The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 221.
277
Rubin, Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, 158. Here, Rubin
cites Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, notation written on letter from Courbet. Rubin also
cites Bonniot Courbet en Saintonge, 310. The quote may also be read as referring to
Courbet as a beast, as bete may translate in both ways.
86


There are three key documented aspects of Courbets life which demonstrate the
dramatic asymmetry of the relationship between Courbet and Proudhon. The first
being the significantly new and different translation of a Courbet letter which
previously led to mistaken impressions of the mutuality of the relationship. The
second demonstrable aspect of Courbets asymmetrical relationship with Proudhon
was his perpetually unsuccessful attempts to have Proudhon sit for a live portrait.
And finally, asymmetry is indicated by the disparity of correspondence between the
two men, both in volume and with respect to Courbets highly anticipated meetings
with Proudhon, which consistently failed to occur, always due to demurral by
Proudhon, never Courbet.
Additionally, there are three key groupings of activities taken by Courbet which
demonstrate the thesis that Courbet, in his later life, emulated Proudhon in his
rhetorical, political, and even personal actions. The first of these is represented by
Courbets change from personal observations made in private letters (some of which
he feared ever becoming public) to manifestos generated for public consumption,
much like Proudhons published editorials. Secondly, this emulation becomes
manifest at the Antwerp Conference of 1861 during which Courbet first attempted in
public to explain the philosophy of Proudhon, with debatable results. Finally, we will
look at Courbets Proudhon-like ventures into public office, changing from a proudly
87


278
independent country unto himself, into an elected representative and eager member
of public committees.
The New Translation
The traditional academic reading of the relationship between Courbet and
Proudhon is based, to a great extent, on scholarly readings of Courbets
correspondence, which is problematical. As noted in the introduction, Courbets
correspondence is notable for its bragging and its egotistical touches. I am the
proudest and most arrogant man in France.278 279 280 The curators of the Metropolitan
Museum of Arts exhibition Gustave Courbet (Feb. 27 May 18, 2008) as well as the
editors of the impressive accompanying book refer to Courbets correspondence as a
280
confused mixture of frankness and naivete, arrogance and boasting.
Accordingly, caution must be exercised at all times in the reading of his letters.
However, critical though we must be, there is no better source for factual information,
uncontaminated by later editorial glosses.
A major contribution to the field of Courbet correspondence study is the 1992
work Letters of Gustave Courbet by Petra ten-Doesschate Chu which has received
significant scholarly praise.281 A careful review of this text provides the researcher
with as much information as is contained in several major collections of Courbets
papers in France. With its 571 Courbet letters and meticulously detailed supporting
278
Chu, The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 115.
279 Ibid, 116.
280 Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gustave Courbet, 19.
281 Metropolitan Museum of Art (2008), Bock-Weiss (1993), Faunce (1973), Raser
(1994)
88


notes, it provides the researcher with the opportunity to not only understand
Courbets actions, but to also undertake a minimum level of quantitative analysis
which is supportive of the theme of disparity in the volume and nature of
correspondence in this chapter and the theme of the nature and timing of the
relationship as studied in chapters three and four.
Most significantly, Chus text of Courbets letters, which allows researchers to
analyze both qualitatively and quantitatively the body of his correspondence, provides
the impetus for the main theme of this entire work, which is that the Courbet-
Proudhon relationship has been seriously misrepresented by scholars for the better
part of a century. Although it is close to impossible to say with certainty that a
particular subject has not been discussed in the literature (due to the impossibility of
proving a negative) it is certainly clear that the observations in this chapter
concerning the significantly new translation of one key Courbet letter, and the
quantitative and temporal analysis of the totality of the correspondence prior to the
Chu work, has had no significant public exposure.
A careful reading of Courbet and Proudhons extant personally written material
(primarily Courbets letters and Proudhons diaries) is key to understanding their
relationship. A small difference in the reading of a letter can make a notable
difference in the scholarly interpretation of the relationship. The most significant
case in point is Courbets letter of January 24, 1865 to Gustave Chaudey*
(republican lawyer and close friend of both Courbet and Proudhon) who was
summarily executed by the Communards in 1871. In describing his anticipated
memorial portrait and sculpture of Proudhon, Courbet is quoted in Mack (1951) as
89


telling Chaudey that he wanted to represent Proudhon sitting on a bench in the Bois
de Boulogne, where I used to talk with him every day (italics added).282 In her later,
excellent translation of the letter, Chu tells us that Courbet wrote: I want to do him
sitting on a bench in the Bois de Boulogne, just as he was, everyday, talking to people
(italics added).283 The 1992 Courbet translation work by Chu is considered by the
Metropolitan Museum of Art to be an exemplary edition.. .the cornerstone of any
work devoted to Courbet.284 285
This difference in translation is significant, and it is understandable. Different
translators can often present differing interpretations of a passage. There are those
who choose to translate literally, word for word, and those who choose to attempt to
effectively translate the spirit of a phrase. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that
Courbet, from the time he was in school, was notorious for his poor penmanship and
equally poor spelling, further confusing matters. But, the fact that the difference is
entirely understandable does not diminish its significance for academic inquiry,
particularly when it modifies the entire nature of the relationship. In the original
French, the phrase in question is comme il etait causant avec lui tous les jours.286
The construction causant avec lui, rather than converser avec moi, or parler avec
909
Mack, Gustave Courbet, 196. In this case, Mack quotes from the Eduard Droz
work, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Unpublished letters to Gustave Chaudey and to
several Comtois, followed by some unpublished fragments of Proudhon and a letter of
Gustave Courbet on the death of Proudhon
for the Memoirs de la Societe dEmulation du Doubs (Besanqon), serie 8, vol. 5
(1910).
283 Chu, The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 258.
284 Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gustave Courbet, 15. Laurence des Cars,
Dominique de Font-Reaulx, Michel Hilaire, Gary Tinterow.
285
Mack, Gustave Courbet, 11.
286
Chu, The Most Arrogant Man in France, 192.
90


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AR T A T TH E BARRICADES : COURBE T AN D PROUDHON TH E TRAJECTOR Y O F A N ASYMMETRICA L RELATIONSHI P b y Richar d Vincen t O'Connel l B.A. Californi a Stat e University Northridge 197 5 A thesi s submitte d t o th e Universit y o f Colorad o Denve r i n partia l fulfillmen t o f th e requirement s fo r th e degre e o f Maste r o f Humanitie s 201 1

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UM I Number : 149335 5 Al l right s reserve d INFORMATIO N T O AL L USER S Th e qualit y o f thi s reproductio n i s dependen t upo n th e qualit y o f th e cop y submitted I n th e unlikel y even t tha t th e autho r di d no t sen d a complet e manuscrip t an d ther e ar e missin g pages thes e wil l b e noted Also i f materia l ha d t o b e removed a not e wil l indicat e th e deletion UM I Dissertatio n Publishin g UM I 149335 5 Copyrigh t 201 1 b y ProQues t LLC Al l right s reserved Thi s editio n o f th e wor k i s protecte d agains t unauthorize d copyin g unde r Titl e 17 Unite d State s Code ProQues t LL C 78 9 Eas t Eisenhowe r Parkwa y P.O Bo x 134 6 An n Arbor M l 48106-134 6

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201 1 b y Richar d Vincen t O'Connel l Al l right s reserved

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Thi s thesi s fo r th e Maste r o f Humanitie s degre e b y Richar d Vincen t O'Connel l ha s bee n approve d b y / A ^Af{^^7i^UAA Margare t Woodhul l A jf *?!•' \j] Gabrie l Finkelstei n < J Dat e

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O'Connell Richar d Vincen t (M H Humanities ) Ar t a t th e Barricades : Courbe t an d Proudhon th e Trajector y o f a n Asymmetrica l Relationshi p Thesi s directe d b y Associat e Professo r Margare t Woodhul l ABSTRAC T Nineteent h centur y Frenc h painte r Gustav e Courbe t wa s instrumenta l i n th e foundin g o f th e moder n Realist schoo l o f paintin g an d create d grea t ar t i n hi s youth hi s larger than-lif e manifest o painting s bein g regarde d a s th e earlies t socialis t art Ove r th e cours e o f hi s caree r h e cam e t o b e powerfull y influence d b y anarchis t philosophe r Pierre-Josep h Proudhon who m h e greatl y admired Drive n b y thi s influence Courbe t change d fro m a n artis t totall y consume d b y hi s work t o a politicall y activ e revolutionary whic h culminate d i n hi s action s durin g th e revol t o f th e Pari s Commun e i n 1871 followe d b y trial imprisonmen t an d exile Utilizin g extensiv e archiva l researc h o f Courbet' s writings thi s thesi s argue s tha t hi s relationshi p wit h Proudho n was instrumenta l i n thi s change Th e Courbet-Proudho n relationshi p wa s characterize d b y asymmetr y o f powe r an d emulatio n o f Proudho n b y Courbet Courbet a s a devote e o f a ma n wh o distaine d intimacy attempte d t o creat e a persona l relationshi p whic h Proudho n woul d no t allow Detaile d analysi s o f Courbet' s

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correspondence compare d wit h tha t o f Proudhon clarifie s th e natur e o f thei r associatio n an d suggest s a ne w interpretatio n o f it tha t i t wa s no t th e generall y portrayed close sociall y intimat e on e o f persona l friends bu t on e o f distan t prophe t an d spurne d acolyte Thi s abstrac t accuratel y represent s th e conten t o f th e candidate' s thesis I recommen d it s publication Signe d Margare t Woodhul l

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DEDICATIO N Thi s thesi s i s dedicate d t o Let a Mae m y wif e an d m y muse wh o ha s constantly an d i n ever y way supporte d m y effort s i n thi s project

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ACKNOWLEDGMEN T A deb t o f gratitud e i s owe d t o Dr Cha d Kautze r wh o first introduce d m e t o graduat e stud y a t U.C.D an d wh o constantl y encourage d m y work t o Dr Gabrie l Finkelstein wh o consistentl y aide d m e i n refinin g m y idea s an d balancin g m y perspective an d t o m y adviso r an d Committe e Chair Dr Margare t Woodhull wh o neve r stoppe d teachin g m e ho w t o writ e a goo d academi c paper Appreciatio n i s als o owe d t o Dr Ric k Turle y o f Colorad o Stat e University For t Collins Colorado an d Mr Stev e Jensen Chie f Deput y Distric t Attorney Firs t Judicia l District Jefferso n an d Gilpi n Counties Colorado ; withou t thei r kin d recommendations non e o f thi s woul d hav e bee n possible

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TABL E O F CONTENT S Figure s x CHAPTE R 1 INTRODUCTIO N 1 2 TH E DISCOURS E O F REVOLUTIO N I N AR T AN D LITERATUR E 8 Courbe t an d th e Socialist s 1 6 3 COURBE T TH E MAN HI S AR T AN D HI S ACTIONS 1848/185 3 2 1 Th e Ma n 2 2 Th e Ar t 2 8 Th e Action s 3 4 4 COURBE T TH E MAN HI S AR T AN D HI S ACTIONS 1854/187 7 4 3 Th e Ma n 4 4 Th e Ar t 4 8 Th e Action s 5 9 5 COURBE T AN D PROUDHO N ASYMMETR Y AN D EMULATIO N 8 6 Th e Ne w Translatio n 8 8 Th e Sitting s Tha t Neve r Happene d 9 2 vii i

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Asymmetrica l Writing s an d Unaccepte d invitation s 9 7 Fro m Persona l Missive s t o Publi c Manifesto s th e Emulatio n Begin s 10 1 Th e Antwer p Conferenc e 10 5 Fro m Bein g Hi s Ow n Governmen t t o Bein g Le Representant du Peuple 10 9 6 CONCLUSION S COURBET TH E MYT H AN D TH E MA N 11 4 APPENDI X A 12 0 WORK S CONSULTE D 12 2 I X

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LIS T O F FIGURE S Fig 1 : Rue Soufflot, Juin 1848, Horac e Vernet 184 8 1 9 Fig 2 : La Barricade, Jea n Loui s Ernes t Meissonier 184 8 2 0 Fig 3 : The Stonebreakers, Gustav e Courbet 184 9 2 9 Fig 4 : Burial at Ornans, Gustav e Courbet 1849/5 0 3 1 Fig 5 : The Peasants ofFlagey Returning from the Fair, Gustav e Courbet 185 0 3 3 Fig 6 : Caricatur e o f Courbe t i n Lefils de Pere Duchene 4 5 Fig 7 : Caricatur e o f Courbe t i n Souvenirs de La Commune 4 5 Fig 8 : Nada r phot o o f Proudhon circ a mi d 1850 s 4 6 Fig 9 : Jule s Gremau d photo 187 6 8 2 Fig 10 : Portrait of Regis Courbet, Gustav e Courbet 187 4 8 4 Fig 11 : Self Portrait at Sainte Pelagie, Gustav e Courbet 1871/7 2 8 5 Fi g 12 : The Studio, Gustav e Courbet 185 5 9 4 Fi g 13 : Portrait of Proudhon, Gustav e Courbet 186 5 9 5 Fi g 14 : Proudhon and His Family, Gustav e Courbet 186 5 9 7 x

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CHAPTE R ONE : INTRODUCTIO N "Thi s revolutio n i s al l th e mor e jus t a s i t originate s wit h th e people It s apostle s ar e i 9 workers it s Chris t wa s Proudhon. "Th e sag e o f hi s tim e an d th e ma n o f genius. "H e i s th e onl y ma n wh o stoo d bot h fo r m y countr y an d fo r wha t I think." 3 Gustav e Courbet 186 5 "Visite d th e Courbe t exposition A n artis t o f grea t talent but lacking I think tru e genius an d wit h to o muc h self-admiration." 4 (1855 ) "Courbe t i s i n anguish. .H e assassinate s m e wit h letter s o f eigh t page s yo u kno w ho w h e writes ho w h e wrangles!" 5 (1863 ) Pierre-Josep h Proudho n I t take s onl y a carefu l juxtapositio n o f tw o disparat e set s o f nineteent h centur y writing s t o hav e reaso n t o doub t th e canonica l tal e o f a close persona l friendshi p betwee n Frenc h artis t Gustav e Courbe t an d th e anarchis t philosophe r Pierre-Josep h Petr a ten-Doesschat e Chu trans. ed. The Letters of Gustave Courbet (Chicago/London : Universit y o f Chicago Press 1992) 409 I n a revie w o f thi s wor k b y Timoth y Rase r o f th e Universit y o f Georgi a whic h wa s publishe d i n The French Review h e characterize s thi s volum e a s "th e referenc e wor k fo r Courbe t scholar s fo r year s t o come an d "a n invaluabl e reference-wor k fo r th e Courbe t scholar. Thi s translatio n o f 57 1 o f Courbet' s letters som e previousl y unpublished provide d th e basi c primar y materia l fo r thi s thesis a s i s reflecte d i n th e quantit y o f citations Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 256 3 Ibid 260 4 Ala n Bowness "Courbet' s Proudhon, The Burlington Magazine 120 no 90 0 (Mar 1978) : 124 Bownes s makes numerou s observation s regardin g th e Courbet-Proudho n relationshi p an d characterize s i t a s no t bein g th e clos e friendshi p whic h i t i s ofte n sai d t o hav e been Thi s thesi s i s significantl y informe d an d inspire d b y Bowness work 5 Georg e Woodcock Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work (Ne w York : Schocken 1972) 257 1

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Proudhon A tal e o f th e mutua l affectio n an d lengt h o f thei r relationshi p ha s bee n create d throug h book s an d journa l article s dedicate d t o eac h o f thes e figure s suc h tha t i t ha s becom e a commonplac e amon g ar t historians, 6 an d ha s bee n maintaine d b y Proudho n biographer Georg e Woodcock ar t historia n Jame s Henr y Rubin an d eve n th e Metropolita n Museu m o f Art a s lat e a s 2008 Yet a differin g perspectiv e ca n b e offered fo r a revie w o f thei r respectiv e correspondenc e indicate s littl e o f suc h reciprocit y betwee n th e tw o men Ther e i s n o questio n tha t Proudho n significantl y influence d Courbet However th e relationshi p wa s tha t o f remot e visionar y an d committe d acolyte no t tha t o f close persona l friends Thi s pape r wil l analyz e th e exten t t o whic h Courbet' s artwor k reflect s hi s socio/politica l commitmen t a t a tim e o f revolution Mor e specifically i t wil l conside r t o wha t exten t Courbet' s dedicatio n t o wha t h e understoo d t o b e th e politica l an d artisti c philosoph y o f Proudho n undermine d hi s dedicatio n t o hi s art resultin g i n wha t som e scholar s identif y a s a deterioratio n o f th e qualit y o f hi s wor k a s hi s lif e becam e a caricatur e o f politica l engagement Mos t importantly thi s stud y wil l dispute th e myt h tha t th e Courbet-Proudho n relationshi p was clos e an d mutuall y fulfillin g an d wil l sho w tha t th e Courbet Proudho n relationshi p wa s essentiall y a n asymmetrica l powe r relationshi p i n whic h Courbe t wa s a n impassione d an d dedicate d discipl e o f a distan t an d reserve d ma n wh o di d no t desir e t o hav e suc h a relationship Proudho n wa s recognize d b y hi s 6 Fo r recapitulation s o f thi s genera l them e se e Metropolita n Museu m o f Ar t (2008 ) 432 Rubi n (1980 ) xv 17 Woodcoc k (1972 ) 257 2

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contemporary th e Utopia n Socialis t Victo r Considerant, a s "tha t strang e ma n wh o wa s determine d tha t non e shoul d shar e hi s views." 7 Th e resul t o f thi s associatio n wa s tha t Courbe t cam e t o emulat e hi s hero' s activities takin g position s an d engagin g i n action s whic h h e wa s il l equippe d t o handle Courbe t attempte d t o becom e a n intimat e o f a ma n wh o disdaine d intimacy a ma n who whil e a n admire r o f th e artist' s work particularl y tha t whic h Proudho n considere d t o b e "socialist" seeme d t o distanc e himsel f fro m Courbe t a t ever y opportunity Durin g th e revolutionar y yea r o f 184 8 an d immediatel y thereafte r Proudho n publishe d inflammator y essays serve d i n publi c offic e a s a socialist an d mad e himsel f a publi c enemy Meanwhile als o i n 1848 Courbe t announce d tha t h e was to o bus y paintin g t o involv e himsel f i n politics 8 an d tha t h e ha d littl e interes t i n th e politica l world A littl e ove r twent y year s later durin g th e Commun e day s o f 1871 Courbe t publishe d hi s ow n publi c letters serve d i n publi c office an d als o mad e himsel f int o a publi c enemy Fo r Courbet politica l actio n replace d revolutionar y art Hi s wor k turne d t o societ y portrait s an d derivativ e landscapes th e marketabilit y o f whic h wa s fa r greate r tha n tha t o f socialis t art H e bragge d repeatedl y i n letter s t o hi s famil y tha t hi s backlo g o f commission s wa s growin g t o b e almos t unmanageable Hi s ar t becam e commercial hi s politics radical Th e focu s o f thi s researc h i s o n primar y materials includin g correspondence paintings photograph s an d caricatures Th e first tw o chapter s wil l se t th e scen e i n 7 Woodcock Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 60 o Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 11. 3

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mi d nineteent h centur y France discussin g th e socialis t writing s o f th e da y an d contrastin g th e view s o f Proudho n wit h thos e o f Mar x (th e tw o me n bein g exemplar s o f thei r respectiv e positions centralis t an d decentralist ) an d als o addressin g thei r perspective s o n eac h other Chapter s thre e an d fou r tel l th e stor y o f Courbet' s artisti c an d politica l trajectory bringin g t o ligh t th e man hi s art an d hi s publi c statements Eac h o f thes e chapter s als o include s brie f biographica l materia l o n Proudho n intende d t o familiariz e th e reade r wit h hi s lif e durin g th e year s i n question I n chapte r thre e w e wil l se e tha t Courbe t create d hi s greates t works thos e tha t appea r i n ar t histor y classe s u p t o thi s day durin g th e year s prio r t o 1853 Durin g thos e years hi s interes t i n politica l offic e an d over t activis m wa s minima l an d hi s interes t i n socialis t ar t dominate d hi s life Hi s revolutionar y zea l was fro m birth emotiona l rathe r tha n intellectual A s note d b y Camill e Lemonnie r i n 1878 "Courbe t wa s a n instinc t mor e tha n a brain." 1 0 Chapte r fou r wil l discus s th e change s tha t too k plac e fo r Courbe t i n th e year s betwee n 185 3 an d hi s death i n 1877 includin g hi s politica l radicalization hi s publishe d statements hi s runnin g fo r politica l office an d finall y hi s activitie s durin g th e uprisin g o f th e Pari s Commun e o f 1871 Her e w e wil l als o discus s whethe r o r no t th e fac t tha t Courbet' s politica l position s wer e lef t win g accorde d hi m differen t treatmen t fro m tha t accorde d t o othe r artist s wh o maintaine d mor e conservativ e positions Evidenc e point s t o th e fac t tha t Courbe t wa s no t 9 Courbe t wa s neithe r educate d formall y no r wa s h e a n autodidact B y comparison other s reference d i n thi s thesi s ha d educationa l credential s o r wer e powerfull y self educated Mar x hel d a PhD. Baudelair e studie d la w an d hel d a baccalaureate Castagnar y an d Chaude y wer e attorneys an d Proudho n wa s renowne d fo r hi s self taugh t master y o f theolog y an d multipl e languages 1 0 Jeannen e M Przyblyski "Courbet th e Commune an d th e Meaning s o f Stil l Lif e i n 1871, Ar t Journal 55, no. 2 (1996) : 35 4

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representativ e o f th e Frenc h artist s an d writer s o f th e da y wh o largel y too k mor e moderate republica n perspectives W e wil l als o conside r othe r possibl e reason s fo r th e change s i n hi s work suc h a s marke t influence s an d ageing Th e fift h chapte r wil l dra w example s fro m th e narrativ e chapter s o f th e wor k t o explicat e i n detai l th e thesi s o f asymmetr y an d emulatio n i n th e relationshi p betwee n Courbe t an d Proudhon Ther e ar e thre e clea r aspect s o f Courbet' s lif e whic h ar e descriptiv e o f asymmetr y an d thre e mor e whic h ar e indicativ e o f th e emulation Finally chapte r si x wil l dra w conclusion s based o n th e informatio n explore d i n th e bod y o f th e work Th e ke y theme s ar e based o n Courbet' s correspondenc e an d tha t present s a n issu e fo r th e researcher I n thi s thesi s w e wil l tak e particula r car e i n conductin g researc h o f Courbet' s letters becaus e s o muc h o f wha t h e write s i s exaggeratio n an d hyperbole i n hi s ow n opinion "everyon e agree s tha t I a m th e foremos t ma n i n France." 1 1 Althoug h th e researche r make s a consciou s effor t t o maximiz e objectivity pur e objectivit y i s no t possible an d simpl y takin g Courbet' s word s a t fac e valu e i s disingenuous Thi s thesi s i s informe d t o a larg e exten t wit h respec t t o methodolog y b y th e wor k o f Keit h Jenkin s whos e Rethinking History point s ou t th e pitfall s o f th e historia n bringin g hi s o r he r ow n "viewpoin t an d predilections" 1 2 int o th e analysis Car e mus t b e take n i n th e framin g o f th e relevan t issues Althoug h thi s thesi s deal s essentiall y wit h primar y material s suc h a s persona l letters thi s researc h wil l bea r i n min d th e fac t that althoug h contemporar y letter s ar e absen t later-da y interpretatio n an d opinion eve n th e selectio n o f th e material s themselve s ca n betra y objectivity Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 382 Keit h Jenkins Rethinking History (Abington/Ne w York : Routledg e Classics 2003) 15 5

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Thi s cavea t i s eve n mor e importan t i n consideratio n o f th e fac t tha t som e o f hi s mor e articulat e letter s wer e eithe r edite d o r actuall y writte n b y literar y friend s lik e B aude l aire* 1 orMaxBuchon.* 1 4 Ther e i s anothe r significan t methodologica l consideration A n importan t analytica l too l whic h i s include d i n thi s researc h ha s largel y bee n ignore d i n th e existin g literature Thi s researc h contain s a quantitativ e analysi s o f Courbet' s correspondenc e a s wel l a s a qualitativ e one Accordingly thi s thesi s addresse s thre e ke y element s i n Courbet' s correspondence Th e first qualitativ e componen t i s a consideratio n o f wha t h e says puttin g hi s word s int o contex t wit h respec t t o th e recipien t o f th e letter th e tim e a t whic h i t wa s written an d wha t wa s goin g o n i n Courbet' s lif e whe n h e wrot e it Th e second equall y importan t qualitativ e elemen t i s tha t whic h Courbe t di d no t say Omission s ca n sometime s b e a s german e a s inclusions A s importan t a s i t i s t o not e wha t Courbe t says i t i s equall y importan t t o tak e not e o f wha t h e doe s no t say I n som e instance s th e silenc e speak s volume s a s wil l b e explore d i n chapte r four Th e thir d analytica l elemen t i s th e quantitative I n thi s elemen t w e tak e notic e o f th e quantit y o f letter s writte n t o certai n peopl e a t variou s time s a s thi s i s a n indicatio n o f th e natur e o f th e relationship W e als o not e th e timin g o f ke y correspondence Finally w e analyz e th e repetitivenes s o f certai n Courbe t request s fo r meetings travels an d sittings Eventually Courbet' s unrequite d devotio n t o Proudho n an d hi s politica l ideal s le d t o suffering imprisonment derision an d exile A s note d b y Kar l Marx grea t 1 3 Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 82 1 4 Gerstl e Mack Gustave Courbet (Ne w York : D a Capo Press 1951) 193 6

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personage s an d action s occu r twice "th e first tim e a s tragedy th e secon d tim e a s farce." 1 5 Thi s was th e cas e wit h th e relationshi p o f Courbe t an d Proudhon Proudho n was th e exempla r o f th e gifted persecute d politica l philosopher Courbet th e spurne d acolyte mad e himsel f int o a n exempla r o f th e les s gifte d followe r fo r who m traged y becam e farce Kar l Marx The 18' Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852) Firs t publishe d i n Die Revolution. Quote d her e fro m Rober t C Tucker ed. The Marx-Engels Reader (Ne w York/London : 1978) 594 Also Gabrie l Finkelstein, persona l communication 7

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CHAPTE R TWO : TH E DISCOURS E O F REVOLUTIO N I N AR T AN D LITERATUR E W e shoul d no t pu t forwar d revolutionary action a s a mean s o f socia l reform becaus e tha t pretende d mean s woul d simpl y b e a n appea l t o force t o arbitrariness i n brief a contradiction." 1 6 Pierre-Josep h Proudhon 184 6 "Indeed i s i t a t al l surprisin g tha t a societ y founde d o n th e oppositio n o f classe s shoul d culminat e i n bruta l 'contradiction, th e shoc k o f bod y agains t body a s it s final denouement?" 11 "Monsieu r Proudho n ha s th e misfortun e o f bein g peculiarl y misunderstoo d i n Europe I n France h e ha s th e righ t t o b e a ba d economist becaus e h e i s repute d t o b e a goo d Germa n philosopher I n Germany h e ha s th e righ t t o b e a ba d philosopher becaus e h e i s repute d t o b e on e o f th e ables t o f Frenc h i o economists. Kar l Marx 184 7 I hav e receive d a libe l b y a Docto r Marx. .i t i s a tissu e o f abuse calumny falsificatio n an d plagiarism." 1 9 "Mar x i s th e tapewor m o f socialism! Pierre-Josep h Proudhon 184 7 Th e middl e o f th e nineteenth centur y i n Europ e wa s a perio d o f intens e revolutionar y discourse durin g whic h eve n ar t wa s subjec t t o socia l critique a s i t ofte n ha s bee n a t suc h times Th e perio d witnesse d th e secularizatio n o f religiosity th e sprea d o f Darwinism th e secon d Industria l Revolution, an d continenta l revolutions Franc e wa s a majo r cente r o f reformis t thinkin g an d publishing an d th e Pierre-Josep h Proudhon lette r t o Kar l Marx Ma y 17 1846 Accesse d o n 6-19 201 0 fro m Marxis t Interne t Archive www.marxists.or g 1 7 Tucker The Marx Engels Reader, 219 1 8 Franci s Wheen Karl Marx: A Life (Ne w York/London : W.W Norto n an d Company 2001) 107 Woodcock Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work ,102 2 0 Ibid 102 8

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Frenc h revolutionarie s wer e happy t o argu e amon g themselve s an d largel y ignor e th e "solem n Germa n doctor s o f philosophy 2 1 wh o flocke d t o Pari s seekin g safet y fro m thei r ow n repressiv e governments Accordin g t o Mar x biographe r Franci s Wheen : 9 9 "Al l th e bes t know n politica l thinker s o f th e ag e wer e Frenchmen foremos t amon g them Pierr e Josep h Proudhon Accordin g t o ar t historia n Jame s Henr y Rubin Proudho n wa s "mor e notoriou s i n th e 1850' s tha n an y othe r radica l thinker." 2 3 Whee n wa s considerin g "th e age somewha t mor e broadl y tha n w e d o i n thi s thesis reachin g bac k i n tim e t o ad d suc h luminarie s a s Fourier, Saint-Simon, an d Considerant A notabl e exceptio n t o thes e tw o broa d generalization s wa s Kar l Marx wh o contribute d t o th e dialogu e t o a n extraordinar y exten t an d spen t a tota l o f seventee n month s livin g i n Pari s an d Brussel s himself Th e mos t significan t Frenc h socia l philosophe r o f th e era Pierre-Josep h Proudhon wa s t o hav e clos e contac t wit h Marx a s wel l a s a n acerbic contentiou s relationship Th e disagreement s betwee n Mar x an d Proudho n wer e significan t i n tha t the y woul d late r lea d t o th e greates t division s amon g element s withi n th e Pari s Commune Proudho n an d Mar x firs t me t i n Jul y o f 1844 whe n Mar x wa s livin g i n th e Faubour g St Germai n i n Paris an d wher e Mar x introduce d Proudho n (alread y 9 1 Woodcock Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 91 2 2 Wheen Karl Marx: A Life, 61 Jame s Henr y Rubin Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon (Princeton : Princeto n Universit y Press 1980) 4 Th e observatio n tha t th e "solem n Germa n doctor s o f philosophy wer e largel y ignore d i s no t inconsisten t wit h th e significanc e o f Mar x t o thi s work A t th e tim e o f th e Marx/Proudho n contact Mar x wa s relativel y unpublished wit h hi s mos t significan t publishin g t o com e later 9

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famou s i n socialis t circle s fo r hi s 184 0 wor k What is Property?) wh o coul d no t spea k 9 S German t o th e wor k o f Hegel A t th e tim e Mar x was alon g wit h Friedric h Engels contributin g t o th e Deutsch-Franzosische Jahrbucher, (German-Frenc h Annals ) a periodica l devote d t o socialis t communicatio n betwee n Frenc h an d Germans. 2 Thi s tim e an d plac e was criticall y importan t a s i t wa s the n an d ther e tha t Mar x an d Engels afte r havin g spen t te n straigh t day s i n constan t contact begi n thei r collaboratio n i n earnest. 2 7 Ove r th e cours e o f slightl y mor e tha n a year Mar x an d Proudho n engage d i n th e regular all-nigh t discussion s fo r whic h Mar x becam e s o well-know n late r i n London I n vie w o f Proudhon' s notabl e lac k o f forma l education i t i s likel y tha t thi s wa s hi s first exposur e t o Hegel an d tha t exposur e wa s comin g directl y fro m th e lip s o f on e o f th e Youn g (Left ) Hegelian' s mos t influentia l thinkers Th e leftis t philosopher s wer e i n agreemen t o n onl y on e thing : revolutio n agains t th e existin g bourgeoi s societ y wa s a must Withi n tha t overal l dialogu e however grea t debate s rage d abou t mean s t o thi s goal Fo r Marx who m posterit y ha s show n t o hav e ha d th e mos t significant lon g term worldwid e effec t o n society revolutio n b y th e proletaria t wa s a n absolut e necessity. 2 8 "Th e Communist s disdai n t o concea l thei r view s an d aims The y openl y declar e tha t thei r end s ca n b e attaine d onl y b y th e 9 Q forcibl e overthro w o f al l existin g socia l conditions. Fo r Proudhon violenc e wa s no t needed an d wa s i n fac t t o b e scrupulousl y avoided bu t eventua l anarch y wa s th e Frit z Raddat z ed. Ewal d Oser s trans. Karl Marx Friedrich Engels Selected Letters (Boston/Toronto : Little Brow n an d Company 1981) 162 2 6 Ibi d 2 7 Ibi d 2 8 Kar l Mar x an d Friedric h Engels The Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848 ) 2 9 Ibi d 1 0

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ultimat e stat e o f society a societ y whic h woul d consis t essentiall y o f a loos e confederatio n o f independen t patriarcha l peasan t an d artisa n households. 3 0 Prio r t o 1840 Proudhon' s literar y caree r wa s essentiall y tha t o f a n essayist submittin g article s i n whic h h e bega n t o offe r rudimentar y philosophica l insight s mainl y dealin g wit h languag e an d occasionall y wit h religion. 3 1 H e publishe d What is Property? i n 1840 addin g hi s voic e t o th e choru s o f socialis t thought H e too k th e perspectiv e tha t propert y was theft askin g th e questio n an d the n tellin g th e world "Wha t i s property?...Propert y i s robbery." 3 3 I n thi s work h e eve n predate d Mar x i n propoundin g a labo r theor y o f value. 3 4 Th e debate s an d dialogue s betwee n advocate s o f Marx' s versio n o f communism an d advocate s o f Proudhon' s versio n o f anarchis m wer e spirited Eac h accuse d th e othe r o f erro r wit h regularity Fo r writer s o f th e left th e revolutionarie s o f 184 8 an d th e Communard s o f 187 1 wer e t o becom e martyr s t o a grea t cause Fro m th e perspectiv e o f th e politica l right th e force s o f order a n entirel y differen t characterizatio n emerged Th e revol t o f th e Pari s Commun e o f 187 1 was describe d b y th e righ t a s "th e mos t formidabl e an d crimina l th e worl d ha s eve r seen," 3 5 contrive d b y "th e ruthles s desperadoe s o f J.W Burrow The Crisis of Reason: European Thought, 1848-1914 (Ne w Haven/London : Yal e Universit y Press 2000) 117 o 1 Woodcock Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 36-39 3 2 Thi s i s th e mos t common moder n translatio n o f Proudhon' s wording 3 3 Benj R Tucker tr. What is Property? (Princeton : Benj R Tucker 1876) 11 Woodcock Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 47 Thi s wa s no t origina l wit h Proudhon Smit h an d Ricard o ha d als o advocate d suc h theories W Pembrok e Fetridge The Rise and Fall of the Paris Commune in 1871: With a Full Account of the Bombardment, Capture, and Burning of the City (Ne w York : Harpe r an d Brothers Publishers 1871) 15 1 1

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Paris. Eac h o f thes e perspective s i s mor e polemica l tha n explanatory Rathe r tha n realistically describ e th e situation thei r author s chos e t o attemp t t o scor e politica l point s wit h th e readership Ther e existe d a grea t numbe r o f issue s o n whic h Mar x an d Proudho n wer e i n disagreemen t an d whic h coul d b e th e subjec t o f entir e these s o n thei r own However fo r th e purpose s o f thi s work w e ca n concentrat e o n thos e point s o f contentio n whic h affecte d th e decision s an d action s o f Courbet Proudho n an d th e Commune Essentially th e disagreement s betwee n Mar x an d Proudho n concerne d tw o ke y area s whic h woul d b e manifeste d amon g th e member s o f th e Commune ; th e nee d fo r violen t physica l revolution an d centralizatio n versu s decentralization Ultimately th e rif t betwee n Marxist s an d Proudhonians Communist s an d anarchists wa s t o becom e th e definin g issu e i n th e constan t squabblin g o f th e Internationa l Workin g Men' s Associatio n i n France Thi s wa s no t th e onl y grou p fo r whic h thi s wa s th e definin g issue I n hi s introductio n t o th e twentiet h anniversar y Germa n editio n o f Marx' s The Civil War in France, Friedrich Engel s describe d th e fierc e division s amon g th e member s o f th e 187 1 Pari s Commun e a s bein g betwee n thos e Communard s wh o wer e essentiall y Communists an d thos e wh o wer e "adherent s o f th e Proudhonia n Schoo l o f Socialism," 3 7 th e sam e divisio n manifeste d i n th e Internationa l Workin g Men' s Associatio n debates Thes e disagreement s wer e handle d i n a civilized academi c manne r fro m 184 4 unti l 184 6 whe n Proudho n seemingl y rejecte d a n overtur e fro m Marx resultin g i n th e 3 6 Ibi d 7 Ma x Eastman ed. Capital, The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings by Karl Marx (Ne w York : Th e Moder n Library 1959) 377 1 2

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flurr y o f dialogu e note d i n th e openin g o f thi s chapter I n 184 6 Mar x se t abou t creatin g a n internationa l grou p o f correspondent s dedicate d t o keepin g th e socialis t activist s acros s Europ e awar e o f eac h other' s activities Th e "tapewor m o f socialism reache d ou t t o Proudhon th e "ba d philosopher, t o engag e i n tha t serie s o f communications O n Ma y 5 184 6 Mar x invite d Proudho n t o joi n i n hi s effort s t o "pu t th e Germa n socialist s i n touc h wit h th e Frenc h an d Englis h socialists ; t o kee p foreigner s constantl y informe d o f th e socialis t movement s tha t occu r i n German y an d t o infor m th e German s i n German y o f th e progres s o f socialis m i n Franc e an d England." 3 8 A t thi s poin t i n th e relationship Mar x tell s Proudho n tha t "w e al l o f u s believ e tha t w e coul d find n o bette r corresponden t tha n yourself," 3 9 hig h prais e indee d fro m a ma n wh o rarel y sa w virtu e i n th e wor k o f others eve n thos e wh o agree d wit h him Proudho n rejecte d Marx' s overture Th e rejectio n wa s equivocal no t eve n complete H e di d no t rejec t Mar x ou t o f hand ; h e merel y se t condition s o n hi s acceptance Proudho n wa s happ y t o "gladl y agre e t o becom e on e o f th e recipient s o f you r correspondence whos e aim s an d organizatio n see m t o m e mos t useful." 4 0 However the n cam e th e cavea t whic h Mar x foun d unacceptable Proudho n wen t o n t o sa y "bu t le t u s not merel y becaus e w e ar e a t th e hea d o f a movement mak e ourselve s th e leader s o f a ne w intolerance le t u s no t pos e a s th e apostle s o f a ne w Kar l Marx lette r t o Pierre-Josep h Proudhon Ma y 5 1846 Accesse d o n 6-18-201 0 fro m Marxis t Interne t Archive www.marxists.or g 3 9 Ibi d 4 0 O p Cit Proudho n t o Mar x 1 3

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religion eve n i f i t b e th e religio n o f logic th e religio n o f reason. .o n tha t conditio n I wil l gladl y ente r you r association Otherwis e no!" 4 1 Wa s thi s a conditiona l acceptance o r a conditiona l rejection ? I t mad e n o differenc e t o Marx Th e earl y academi c dialogu e degenerate d int o argumentum ad hominem, a s di d Marx' s commentarie s o n Lassalle an d a hos t o f othe r socialis t luminarie s o f th e da y wh o hel d perspective s whic h differed eve n slightly fro m hi s own. 4 2 Marx havin g ha d th e benefi t o f outlivin g Lassalle Bakunin an d Proudhon publishe d a n extremel y negativ e obituar y o f Proudho n i n th e Germa n press. 4 3 Wit h respec t t o th e desire d revolution Mar x hel d tha t th e uprisin g o f th e proletaria t i n th e street s wa s a n absolut e necessity "The y openl y declar e tha t thei r end s ca n b e attaine d onl y b y th e forcibl e overthro w o f al l existin g socia l conditions." 4 4 Proudho n strongl y disagreed contendin g tha t "th e workin g clas s shoul d attai n t o revolutio n no t b y politica l actio n but b y economi c mean s only." 4 5 Thi s struc k t o th e hear t o f th e divergenc e o f th e tw o men' s action s durin g th e revolution s o f 1848 Whil e Mar x helpe d t o rais e fund s t o ar m insurgent s i n Brussel s an d participate d i n th e preparation s fo r th e violence Proudhon th e advocat e o f non-violent economi c action s an d eve r th e pacifist durin g th e violenc e o f 184 8 wa s O p Cit Proudho n t o Mar x Fo r Marx' s observation s o f a seriousl y ad-homine m nature se e Raddat z (1981 ) whic h contain s numerou s example s o f ad-homine m commentar y i n Marx/Engel s persona l correspondence Isaia h Berlin Karl Marx: His Life and Environment (Ne w York/Oxford : Oxfor d Universit y Press 1996) 197 4 4 Tucker The Marx Engels Reader, 500 Edwar d Hyams Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Revolutionary Life, Mind and Works (London : Joh n Murra y Publishers 1979) 261 Frit z J Raddatz tr. Ewal d Osers ed. Karl Marx Friedrich Engels: Selected Letters (Boston/Toronto : Little Brow n an d Company 1981) 163 1 4

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"th e grea t non-participant wanderin g fro m stree t t o street a gentlema n i n a frock coat a weare r o f ou r decoration' talkin g thing s ove r wit h th e rebels, bu t hardl y participatin g i n an y violence Secondly fo r Marx th e centralized communa l dictatorshi p o f th e proletaria t wa s a n absolut e necessity a t leas t prio r t o th e witherin g awa y o f th e stat e whic h woul d preced e th e ag e t o come Proudho n woul d hav e non e o f that Centralizatio n o f authority i n an y form wa s anathem a t o hi m a s i t wa s t o othe r influentia l anarchist s suc h a s Bakunin Fo r Proudhon tota l an d a s complet e decentralizatio n a s possibl e woul d creat e th e desire d result H e was i n Berlin' s memorabl e phras e a n advocat e o f "crypto-individualism", 4 8 bu t trul y no t a s "crypto a s Berli n woul d hav e u s believe Hi s advocac y o f individualis m i n lie u o f th e mor e authoritaria n Communis t visio n o f societ y was quit e open Hi s vie w o f authority eve n authorit y o f th e peopl e wa s clear "Onc e i n powe r al l me n ar e th e same Alway s ther e i s th e sam e zea l fo r authority th e sam e distrus t o f th e people th e sam e fanatica l attachmen t t o la w an d order." 4 9 Rathe r tha n placin g hi s fait h i n an y for m o f centralize d rul e o r centralize d ownershi p o f property Proudho n advocate d wha t h e referre d t o a s Mutualism a n economi c syste m i n whic h fre e men withou t recours e t o governmen t i n an y manne r woul d ban d togethe r i n mutua l ownershi p o f business mutua l labo r efforts an d mutua l managemen t an d extensio n o f credit Thi s syste m o f socia l econom y was 4 7 T.J Clark Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution (Berkeley : Universit y o f Californi a Press 1973) 49 4 8 Isaia h Berlin Karl Marx: His Life and Environment (Oxford : Oxfor d Universit y Press 1996) 86 4 9 Hyams Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Revolutionary Life, Mind and Works, 123 5 0 Ibid 120 1 5

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expecte d t o com e int o bein g wit h littl e o r n o oversigh t b y an y government an d wit h n o centralize d ownershi p o f th e mean s o f production Capitalis m a s i t existe d wa s t o b e overthrown but no t t o b e replace d b y an y versio n o f centra l managemen t o r eve n planning Proudhon i n contras t t o th e Communis t left offere d a versio n o f Utopia n socialis m whic h was base d essentiall y o n mora l principles doin g wha t wa s right no t wha t wa s historicall y inevitable. 5 1 H e claime d i n hi s Systeme II tha t "ma n i n hi s developmen t progresse s incessantl y fro m fatalit y t o liberty fro m instinc t t o reason fro m th e materia l t o th e spiritual." 5 2 Courbe t an d th e Socialist s Th e revolutionar y rhetori c wa s i n th e air popula r no t onl y amon g philosophers bu t amon g al l member s o f intellectua l society reactin g t o th e faile d revolution s o f 1848 A remarkabl e concours e o f poet painter musicians writers reformer s an d theorist s ha d gathere d i n th e Frenc h capital" 5 3 A congregatio n o f philosopher-poet s filled th e table s o f th e cafe s an d bistros explaining debatin g an d pontificating Courbe t revele d i n hi s participatio n i n thi s worl d o f bohemian s an d dandies rubbin g elbow s wit h Baudelair e an d Champfleury, th e founde r o f th e realis t schoo l o f literature a s h e "hel d court Thursday s a t th e Brasseri e Andler. 5 4 Literar y Realis m followe d a paralle l pat h t o artisti c Realism Th e Romanti c pre 184 8 Revolutio n work s suc h a s Duma s pere' s Count of Monte Cristo an d The Three 5 1 I n thi s h e wa s par t o f a schoo l o f though t wit h root s goin g bac k a s fa r a s Thoma s More' s Utopia, an d continuin g throug h th e wor k o f Fourier Sain t Simon an d eve n t o th e U.S i n Rober t Owen' s "Ne w Harmony Indiana Rubin Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, 50 Berlin Karl Marx: His Life and Environment, 61 5 4 Mack Gustave Courbet, 58,59,97 1 6

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Musketeers ca n b e rea d a s th e literar y equivalents o f th e painte r David' s depiction s o f equall y swashbucklin g heroes I n Realist novel s Flaubert' s urba n clerk s turne d rusti c experimenter s replace d th e pre-revolutio n heroe s o f th e nobility I n othe r novels a s i n paintings th e commo n ma n o f Franc e wit h dir t o n hi s hand s replace d th e heroe s o f Romanti c fiction whos e hand s neve r touche d anythin g s o common. 5 5 Unde r thi s influence Gustav e Courbe t considere d himsel f t o b e a revolutionary socialist, an d realist a partisa n o f al l th e revolution, al l o f which h e claime d t o hav e manifeste d i n hi s art Additionally betwee n th e year s o f 184 8 an d 187 1 Courbe t becam e increasingl y radicalize d i n hi s politics fro m mil d interes t a t best t o activ e participatio n i n th e uprisin g o f th e Pari s Commun e o f 1871 Pierre-Josep h Proudho n playe d a ke y rol e i n thi s transformation profoundl y influencin g Courbe t o n a persona l level 57 Betwee n 184 8 an d 185 3 Courbe t create d som e o f hi s greates t art whic h wa s clearl y revolutionar y i n th e artisti c sens e o f promotin g Realis m an d placin g everyda y event s i n th e live s o f everyday peopl e int o monumenta l ar t o f th e kin d previousl y restricte d t o grea t moment s i n history Prio r t o Courbet th e hierarch y o f artisti c genre s a s articulate d b y th e Academi e Francaise 58 place d histor y paintin g a t th e ape x o f th e artworld wit h portraits landscapes an d still-life s i n descendin g order Courbe t pai d homag e t o th e ranking but t o th e chagri n o f th e critics place d contemporar y Frenc h citizen s int o th e representation s previousl y reserve d fo r th e historica l an d 5 5 A s exemplifie d b y th e contras t betwee n Edmon d Dante s an d th e Coun t i n The Count of Monte Cristo. Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 103 Mack Gustave Courbet, 53 CO Th e Academie Frangaise, semi-governmenta l arbite r o f al l thing s artisti c i n Franc e 1 7

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mythologica l elite I n doin g thi s Courbe t wa s quit e ope n abou t hi s intent tellin g th e artworl d tha t "ever y ag e shoul d b e represente d b y it s ow n artists...th e artist s o f on e centur y ar e totall y incapabl e o f representin g th e thing s o f a precedin g o r subsequen t century." 5 9 Fo r Courbet th e ide a tha t a nineteent h centur y artis t shoul d attemp t t o portra y th e past whethe r rea l o r mythologica l wa s futile Realis m coul d onl y represen t wha t was no t wha t ha d been Academi c ar t was meticulou s i n execution romanti c i n subjec t matter an d catere d t o a n artworl d i n whic h th e governmen t ma y hav e replace d th e Churc h a s th e mai n sponso r o f art bu t tha t chang e i n patronag e di d no t eliminat e th e essentia l dignit y o f th e subjec t matte r portrayed Th e ne w Realis t art o f whic h Courbe t wa s t o becom e know n a s th e father an d i n whic h dignifie d portraya l o f subject s wa s largel y irrelevant woul d eventuall y cate r t o a ne w market-drive n clas s o f buyers I n thi s atmospher e politicall y oriente d ar t wa s a mainsta y o f th e artworld A s such i t wa s constantl y critique d fro m politica l perspectives T.J Clar k ha s observe d tha t "fo r a whil e i n th e mi d nineteent h century th e State th e publi c an d th e critic s agree d tha t ar t ha d a politica l sens e an d intention An d paintin g wa s encouraged repressed hate d an d feare d o n tha t assumption." 6 1 Courbet' s ar t was characterize d b y contemporar y critic s a s "a n engin e o f revolution, an d i n 185 1 a t th e tim e o f th e /T O Salon h e wa s calle d th e "Proudho n o f painting. Yet th e real m o f politica l ar t wa s Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 203 6 0 Ann e M Wagner "Courbet' s Landscape s an d thei r Market, Art History 4 no 4 (Decembe r 1981) 411 Clark Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution, 9. 2 Ibid 134 Quotin g Salo n criti c Loui s Peiss e 6 3 Ibid 134 Quotin g Salo n criti c Enaul t 1 8

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no t jus t revolutionar y o r socialist suc h a s th e Courbe t work s whic h w e wil l loo k a t i n chapte r three Th e force s o f orde r wer e wel l represente d b y artist s lik e Horac e Verne t an d Jean-Louis-Ernes t Meissonie r whos e painting s o f revolutionar y death suc h a s Rue-Soufflot Juin 1848 an d La Barricade mad e clea r tha t "deat h [was ] th e onl y victo r a t th e barricades. I n thei r work s th e viewe r see s th e realit y o f deat h i n th e streets th e bloo d an d destructio n whic h wer e th e inevitabl e resul t o f revolution Fig 1 : Rue Soufflot Juin 1848, Horac e Vernet 184 8 Rubin Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, xvii Rubi n i s quotin g ar t historia n Meye r Shapir o 1 9

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Fig 2 : La Barricade, Jea n Loui s Ernes t Meissonier 184 8 I n Frenc h ar t o f th e nineteenth century herois m o r despotis m wer e al l i n th e ey e o f th e socia l grou p fo r who m th e wor k wa s intended a s wer e th e heroic s o r th e depravitie s o f th e 184 8 revolutionarie s an d th e 187 1 Communards Th e intellectua l turmoi l i n philosophy literatur e an d ar t wa s centra l t o Courbet' s life ar t an d actions 2 0

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CHAPTE R THREE : COURBE T TH E MAN HI S AR T AN D HI S ACTIONS 1848-185 3 I a m s o bus y wit h m y paintin g righ t no w tha t i t i s ver y difficul t fo r m e t o write fo r onc e I a m doin g somethin g i t i s impossibl e fo r m e t o thin k o f anythin g els e a t all." 6 5 (1847 ) "Anyhow I a m no t gettin g involve d i n politics a s usual fo r I find nothin g emptie r tha n that." 6 6 (1848 ) Gustav e Courbe t "Th e socia l revolutio n wa s risin g up withou t anybody hig h o r low appearin g t o b e awar e o f it." 6 7 "I t i s necessar y t o giv e a directio n t o th e movement" 6 8 Pierre-Josep h Proudho n 184 8 Thes e wer e th e sentiment s o f Courbe t an d Proudho n jus t prio r t o an d durin g th e revolutio n o f 1848 W e se e on e man Courbet wh o i s consume d b y hi s art consider s himsel f a revolutionar y perhaps but i s unwillin g t o ac t o n thos e revolutionar y impulses, 6 9 othe r tha n throug h hi s art a t thi s time Thi s i s no t t o sa y tha t revolutionar y ar t i s no t impactful i t certainl y ca n be Additionally i t i s no t t o infe r hypocris y o n th e par t o f Courbet Rather i t i s t o poin t ou t th e manne r i n whic h Courbe t expresse d himsel f an d hi s socialis t views whic h wa s t o chang e dramaticall y ove r th e cours e o f hi s life Tha t chang e i s a t th e cor e o f thi s discussion W e als o se e anothe r man Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 75 Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 11. Woodcock Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 111. 6 8 Ibid 119 A s indicate d b y no t runnin g fo r electiv e office engagin g i n violence o r issuin g publi c proclamations 2 1

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Proudhon wh o wa s dedicate d t o revolutionar y action bu t "exhorte d hi s friend s no t t o fight." 7 0 A s w e revie w th e persona l histor y o f Courbe t i n thes e year s w e wil l se e a ma n maturin g a s a painter becomin g accustome d t o bohemia n lif e i n Pari s an d creatin g th e first grea t socialis t work s o f art Durin g thi s perio d Courbet' s revolutionar y instinct s wer e sharpene d a s h e change d fro m a relativ e unknow n t o a painte r wh o ha d th e attentio n o f th e public th e critics an d th e government Th e Ma n Gustav e Courbe t cam e b y hi s revolutionar y perspectiv e fro m th e ver y beginnin g o f 7 1 hi s life Bor n o n Jun e 10 181 9 i n th e smal l tow n o f Ornan s i n th e Franche-Comt e regio n o f Franc e t o Regi s an d Suzanne-Silvi e Courbet h e wa s th e grandso n o n hi s mother' s sid e o f Jean-Antoin e Oudo t (Jean-Antoin e Oudot Januar y 23 176 8 Augus t 13 1848), 7 2 a fierc e republica n wh o ha d fough t i n th e Frenc h Revolution A s par t o f a larg e immediat e famil y consistin g o f himsel f an d fou r sisters an d a clos e extende d famil y (i n ove r a doze n letter s writte n t o hi s famil y betwee n Novembe r o f 183 7 an d Ma y o f 184 0 h e make s a poin t o f givin g hi s ver y fon d regard s t o hi s grandfathe r an d grandmother a s wel l a s assorte d uncles aunts an d cousins ) h e first Woodcock Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 118 7 1 Locate d i n th e fa r eastern alpin e geograph y o f France onl y mile s fro m th e Swis s border 7 2 www.wc.rootsweb.ancestry.co m Entr y 23292 5 fo r Pierr e Bourgeoi s (1925-2004) Oudo t i.d 103296 5 2 2

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encountere d radica l republicanis m an d anti-clericalis m a t a n earl y age a n influenc e whic h was t o remai n wit h hi m wel l int o hi s youn g manhood I n thi s sense a s i t wa s t o b e fo r hi s entir e life Courbet' s politica l an d philosophica l perspectives absorbe d aroun d th e dinne r table was intuitiv e an d emotional a s evidence d b y hi s lac k o f highe r educatio n an d poo r performanc e i n th e schoolin g tha t h e di d receive Th e famil y wa s prosperous wit h fathe r Regi s ownin g sufficien t land s an d vineyard s t o b e a registere d vote r i n th e day s prio r t o Frenc h universa l suffrage A s rura l bourgeois i t wa s accepte d tha t youn g Gustav e shoul d b e sen t t o schoo l an d prepar e fo r a professio n suitabl e fo r th e so n o f suc h a family ; law teaching th e Churc h perhaps but certainl y no t painting Despit e hi s parent' s wishe s fo r professiona l training hi s schoolin g wa s minima l an d hi s performanc e unremarkable wit h ba d grade s an d wors e attitude Sen t i n 183 1 a t th e ag e o f twelv e t o th e Ornan s petit-seminary a small loca l academi c institution h e struggle d fo r si x year s wit h poo r grade s an d a n equall y poo r attitude particularl y toward s th e require d religiou s instruction No t man y o f th e student s faile d t o complet e thei r Firs t Communio n fo r yea r afte r year a s di d Courbet brimmin g wit h hi s earl y anti-clericalism Althoug h referre d t o a s a petit-seminary th e schoo l wa s intende d fo r th e educatio n o f secula r youth s a s wel l a s aspirin g religious A t eighteen hi s famil y enrolle d hi m i n th e nearb y Colleg e Roya l a t Besancon intendin g tha t h e stud y law a professio n deeme d t o b e appropriat e fo r a youn g ma n o f hi s clas s an d geographi c location Thi s effor t a t educatio n wa s a s Mack Gustave Courbet, 4 7 4 Ibid 10 2 3

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disastrou s a s hi s earlier attempts A constan t complainer h e threatene d hi s famil y tim e afte r tim e wit h runnin g awa y fro m th e schoo l an d fro m them I absolutel y wan t t o leav e m y classe s fo r I' m her e perforce. .i f yo u insis t o n forcin g m e t o stay I wil l soo n n o longe r b e here." 7 5 I n Novembe r o f 1840 Courbe t finall y go t hi s wis h and neve r havin g take n hi s examinations h e lef t schoo l fo r Pari s an d th e lif e o f a painter san s baccalaureate I n 1848 th e first revolutio n brok e ou t i n Sicily followe d b y th e Frenc h mob s stormin g th e Chambe r o f Deputies an d proclaimin g a Republic, 7 6 a n ac t whic h ultimatel y le d t o th e blood y Jun e Day s i n Paris Proudho n ra n fo r th e Frenc h Constituen t Assembl y an d Courbe t bega n t o reinven t himsel f an d prepar e t o pain t hi s socialis t works trul y a momentou s year Again ther e wa s a politica l componen t t o eac h action Th e failur e o f th e revolution s o f 184 8 affecte d th e cours e o f societ y an d 7 7 intellectua l activit y i n Franc e fo r a generatio n an d more Accordin g t o Rubin i t wa s abou t 184 8 tha t th e first o f Courbet' s reinvention s o f sel f too k plac e a s h e lef t th e worl d o f bohemia n dandyis m i n favo r o f hi s Franc -T O Comtoi s roots. Thi s chang e i n behavio r an d languag e wa s wha t Clar k referre d t o 7 Q a s "camouflage..obstinat e patois, provincia l manners, a mas k whic h Courbe t pu t o n a t will designe d t o creat e th e person a whic h h e wishe d t o sho w th e world B y then a t ag e twent y eight Courbe t ha d bee n livin g i n th e Lef t Ban k o f Pari s fo r eigh t Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 16 7 6 Mack Gustave Courbet, 47 7 7 Fo r a n extensiv e discussio n o f th e change s i n Europea n societ y an d intellectua l activit y i n th e wak e o f th e failure s o f th e revolution s o f 184 8 se e J.W Burrow' s The Crisis of Reason: European Intellectual Thought, 1848-1914 (1980 ) •T O t Rubin Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, 53 7 Q Clark Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution, 82 2 4

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years finall y settlin g a t 32 ru e Hautefeuill e i n th e sixt h arrondissemen t i n th e converte d aps e o f a chape l whic h ha d bee n secularize d durin g th e suppressio n o f th e O A Catholi c Churc h durin g th e Frenc h Revolution Hi s studi o an d lodging s wer e situate d abov e th e appropriatel y name d Cafe de la Rotonde. I n contras t t o th e famil y situatio n o f Courbet Proudho n wa s bor n int o a poo r famil y i n Besanco n o n Januar y 15 1809 havin g t o atten d schoo l o n scholarship Hi s earl y work s o f politica l an d economi c philosoph y suc h a s What is Property?, publishe d a t th e youn g ag e o f thirt y one wer e writte n whil e h e worke d long har d hour s a t a variet y o f manua l labors primaril y typesettin g an d printing Hi s interes t i n politica l econom y wa s intellectual i f unlettered B y Octobe r o f 184 6 whe n h e publishe d The Philosophy of Poverty, Proudho n wa s arguabl y th e mos t influentia l socio-politica l thinke r i n France Hi s reputatio n wa s als o growin g i n Germany a s th e boo k wa s publishe d i n thre e translation s b y 1847 Strongl y anti-communis t a s wel l a s anti-clerical i t wa s thi s wor k whic h occasione d th e skewerin g delivere d b y Mar x note d i n th e openin g line s o f chapte r one Proudhon' s ripost e wa s neve r published i t exist s onl y i n hi s persona l notes Inasmuc h a s a t tha t time Mar x wa s a relativ e unknow n i n Franc e compare d t o Proudhon i t woul d appea r tha t Proudhon' s lac k o f publishe d respons e wa s on e calculate d t o ignor e th e man Proudhon' s politica l stance s reflecte d hi s theories an d h e pu t thos e politica l position s int o writin g i n Le Representant du Peuple, a lef t win g politica l journal O A Mack Gustave Courbet, 25 Q 1 Woodcock Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 100 2 5

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I n 184 8 th e politica l journal s wer e th e stronges t manifestatio n o f oppositio n t o th e governmen t o f Louis-Phillipe, 8 2 th e las t Orleanis t kin g o f France Paper s suc h a s Constitutionel, an d Courrier Francais represente d libera l interests La Reforme, socialist an d Proudhon' s Le Representant du Peuple, anarchist Proudhon takin g ever y opportunit y t o plac e hi s theorie s befor e th e public utilize d th e banne r headlin e t o mak e hi s point Le Representant du Peuple, i n it s firs t issu e o f Februar y 2 1848 a t th e ver y beginnin g o f th e uprisin g durin g th e secon d da y o f fighting i n th e streets proclaime d "Wha t i s th e Producer ? Nothing Wha t shoul d h e be ? Everything." 8 3 Hi s rhetori c wa s exhilarating hi s circulatio n soared breaking records. 8 4 I n Apri l o f tha t year afte r th e abdicatio n o f Louis-Phillip e an d ami d Proudhon' s risin g popularit y wit h th e masse s i n th e street s fo r who m hi s word s resonated Proudho n wa s pu t u p fo r election a n electio n i n whic h 1.2 % o f th e populatio n o f Franc e wa s eligibl e t o vote Electe d t o th e Nationa l Assembl y i n Apri l o f 1848 h e quickl y too k hi s idea s ou t o f th e real m o f theor y an d agitatio n an d pu t the m t o th e tes t o f parliamentar y government Proudho n advocate d creatio n o f a non-profi t citizen s bank a n impose d reductio n o n al l curren t rent s an d bill s owe d b y one-third an d tha t creditor s surrende r t o th e governmen t one-thir d o f al l the y ha d bee n owe d ove r th e previou s thre e years Thos e sum s t o b e redistribute d b y th e governmen t bac k t o th e debtors basicall y a ta x o n unearne d income a n ide a commo n toda y but outrageou s b y 184 8 Frenc h standards No t on e o f th e measure s whic h h e advocate d regardin g taxes propert y o r Hyams Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Revolutionary Life, Times and Works, 105 Ibid 106 Ibid 105 2 6

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bankin g wa s adopte d b y th e Assembly an d i n a sho w o f immens e displeasure th e Assembl y vote d t o censur e Proudho n b y a n astonishin g vot e o f 69 1 t o 2 wit h onl y Proudho n an d a singl e all y dissenting. 8 6 B y Jul y o f 184 8 Le Representant wa s suppresse d b y th e governmen t du e t o Proudhon' s continuin g agitation Despit e th e fac t tha t th e ne w governmen t wa s republica n i n nature Proudhon' s positions suc h a s callin g fo r th e previousl y note d forcibl e reductio n i n rents wer e to o extrem e fo r it s taste. Th e suppressio n laste d briefl y wit h publishin g beginnin g agai n i n August Resortin g agai n t o th e banne r headline Proudho n brough t th e pape r bac k with : "Wha t i s th e Capitalist ? Everything Wha t shoul d h e be ? Nothing! whic h resulte d i n th e final eliminatio n o f th e pape r i n September. 8 8 No t t o b e outdon e b y th e government Proudho n struc k bac k i n Novembe r wit h th e creatio n o f hi s newes t effort Le Peuple, i n whic h h e continue d t o antagoniz e th e governmen t fo r anothe r si x months Whe n h e referre d t o th e popularl y electe d O Q president Loui s Bonapart e a s a bea r o r a n ox a poo r beas t o f Circu s o r Carnival, h e encountere d th e persona l enmit y o f th e hea d o f state O n Marc h 22 184 9 h e finall y publishe d th e word s whic h wer e t o resul t i n th e demis e o f th e paper O n tha t da y h e calle d fo r th e peopl e o f Pari s t o ris e i n civi l disobedience refus e t o pa y thei r taxes an d refus e t o serv e i n th e military Thi s wa s ultimatel y to o muc h fo r th e establishmen t t o accept I n Marc h o f 184 9 Proudho n wa s arreste d an d imprisone d i n O C Mack Gustave Courbet, 54 Woodcock Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 135 Hyams Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Revolutionary Life, Times and Work, 135 8 8 Ibid 138 8 9 Ibid 151 2 7

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Saint e Pelagi e priso n fo r a ter m o f thre e years durin g whic h tim e h e wa s t o hav e hi s fatefu l first meetin g wit h Gustav e Courbet Th e Ar t Prio r t o 184 8 Courbet' s ar t was maturin g an d beginnin g t o sho w th e sign s o f th e artisti c geniu s whic h wa s t o come H e produce d a larg e numbe r o f self-portraits depictin g himsel f i n al l manne r o f clothin g an d wit h al l manne r o f accoutrement s (carvin g tools musica l instruments books ) mos t o f whic h sho w hi m a s a handsome introspectiv e youn g man wh o wa s growin g comfortabl e wit h himself an d ofte n accompanie d b y hi s smal l blac k spaniel Beginnin g i n 184 8 Courbe t produce d hi s greates t signatur e paintings thos e tha t forme d th e basi s fo r hi s bein g considere d t o b e a revolutionar y artist Thre e work s i n particula r ar e suc h stron g statement s o f th e significanc e o f th e workin g an d rura l classe s tha t the y ca n b e considere d t o b e manifesto s o f socialis t perspective Painting s suc h a s The Stonebreakers, whic h show s th e unrelentin g labo r o f th e workin g class The Peasants ofFlagey Returning from the Fair, i n whic h w e se e a fundamenta l par t o f th e lif e o f France' s rura l population an d Burial at Ornans, depictin g th e ceremonia l lif e o f villagers al l painte d betwee n 184 9 an d 1850 wer e revolutionar y i n thei r tim e an d place mor e a s a matte r o f conten t tha n o f form althoug h th e forma l elemen t wa s no t ignored. 9 0 Unlik e s o man y o f th e academi c artist s wh o precede d him Courbe t embrace d th e paint Rathe r tha n seekin g t o eliminat e fro m observatio n 9 0 Althoug h Courbet' s conten t wa s hi s mos t radica l departur e fro m previou s school s o f art h e als o substantiall y differe d i n forma l element s suc h a s applicatio n o f pain t b y palett e knif e i n bol d swatche s o f color 2 8

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th e matte r o f whic h th e paintin g i s constructed Courbe t wa s eage r t o sho w tha t pain t wa s a physica l substanc e whic h was place d upo n anothe r physica l substance th e canvas A s Frie d notes "th e thic k impast o i s extremel y apparent ; th e pain t i s ofte n lai d dow n wit h a palett e knif e rathe r tha n a brush s o tha t i t become s a tangible buil t u p crus t tha t arrest s th e eye.. w e ar e force d t o remembe r tha t w e ar e i n fron t o f a soli d wor k o f art a painte d object a representation." 9 1 Fig 3 : The Stonebreakers, Gustav e Courbet 184 8 I n The Stonebreakers w e se e a sombe r visio n o f a n agein g worke r and a s note d b y Courbet hi s rapidl y ageing, 9 2 younge r companio n engage d i n a meaningles s an d futil e tas k tha t expose s th e miser y an d povert y o f th e workin g class wha t "Mar x 9 1 Michae l Fried Courbet's Realism (Chicag o an d London : Th e Universit y o f Chicago Press 1992) 265 Q 9 Th e observatio n tha t th e youn g ma n woul d eventuall y becom e lik e th e ol d ma n ha s bee n remarke d o n previously se e Clar k (1973) 30 an d Courbet' s ow n descriptio n o f th e piec e i n hi s lette r t o Franci s We y o f Novembe r 26 1849 We y wa s eventuall y t o us e thi s descriptio n a s par t o f hi s nove l Le Biez de Serine. 2 9

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woul d hav e calle d alienate d labor. A s Courbe t himsel f observed "i n thi s occupatio n yo u begi n lik e th e on e an d en d lik e th e other." 9 4 I n thi s earl y exampl e o f hi s socialis t work Courbe t clearl y privilege s manua l labor Michae l Frie d i n Courbet's Realism consider s thi s t o b e "the (sic ) imag e o f alienate d labo r i n al l Courbet' s art." 9 5 Thi s for m o f labor which i n additio n t o bein g alienate d i n itself i s alie n t o th e bourgeoi s observer suc h a s Courbet W e ca n rea d hi s versio n o f Realis m her e a s unmediate d an d observational Hi s wor k i s th e resul t o f direct persona l observation no t th e creatio n o f som e idealize d visio n an d no t enhance d o r minimize d b y an y mediatin g influences Courbe t claime d t o hav e com e acros s thes e laborer s alon g a road bringin g the m late r t o hi s studi o t o pos e fo r th e portrait I n Burial at Ornans, whic h was Courbet' s hom e town w e se e countr y fol k i n thei r Sunda y best Amon g th e face s ar e thos e o f hi s relatives hi s fathe r an d hi s sisters, 9 7 possibly hi s grandfathe r Oudo t a s well Bor n int o a famil y o f rural landownin g bourgeois hi s father Regis wa s repute d t o b e th e riches t ma n i n Flagey I n thi s paintin g w e se e ho w Courbe t brough t impressiv e siz e an d interestin g compositio n t o th e depictio n o f dail y lif e i n a countr y village Prio r t o Burial at Ornans, thi s scop e was restricte d i n academi c ar t t o histor y painting canvase s lik e David' s Oath of the Horatii, Death of Socrates, o r Napoleon Crossing the Alps. Th e essenc e o f histor y paintin g wa s depiction s o f grea t moment s i n histor y o r mythology rendere d wit h Fried Courbet's Realism, 262 Ibid 262 Ibid 261 Ibid 102 Clark Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the Revolution of 1848, 31 Ibid 114 3 0

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impressiv e majesty Accordingly th e Academi e wa s outrage d b y thes e stylisti c element s bein g brough t t o th e live s o f countr y provincials Fig 4 : Burial at Ornans, Gustav e Courbet 1849/5 0 Courbe t painte d thi s wor k durin g th e winte r o f 1849-50 i n Ornans an d i t ma y hav e a significanc e tha t i s sometime s speculate d on bu t no t ye t confirmed Thi s ma y wel l b e th e funera l o f hi s grandfathe r Oudot, 9 9 wh o die d i n 1848 o r o f hi s grandmothe r Saulnier-Oudot wh o ha d die d i n 1847 Althoug h i t ha s bee n speculate d befor e no w tha t thi s ma y represen t th e funera l o f hi s grandfather a n alternativ e reading o f th e pictur e ca n b e offered Th e wel l dresse d ma n wit h to p ha t an d blu e stocking s i s arguabl y th e mos t significan t characte r i n th e painting bot h i n positio n an d size a t leas t equa l t o tha t o f th e priest H e ha s lon g bee n interprete d a s on e o f th e Metropolita n Museu m o f Art Gustave Courbet (Ne w York : Metropolita n Museu m o f Art 2008) 174 Dominiqu e d e Font-Reaulx 3 1

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"republican s o f 1793." 10 0 Grandfathe r Oudo t wa s a republica n o f 1793 suggestin g tha t thi s may i n fact b e th e buria l o f Courbet' s grandmother wit h grandfathe r Oudo t i n attendance Th e ma n i n questio n i s certainl y painte d a s a significan t an d stron g character Th e siz e an d positionin g o f th e character s i n Courbet' s work s ar e purposeful On e nee d onl y revie w th e location s an d size s o f th e character s portraye d i n The Studio fo r thi s t o b e seen Onc e i t i s understoo d tha t th e character' s siz e an d locatio n ar e german e t o th e reading o f th e painting th e logica l nex t ste p i s t o rea d tha t figur e a s muc h mor e tha n simpl y a "republica n o f 1793." 10 1 Courbet eve n mor e o f a dedicate d famil y ma n tha n a revolutionary coul d b e see n a s recordin g th e recen t deat h o f a clos e famil y member wit h hi s belove d an d admire d grandfathe r Oudo t i n attendance eithe r literall y o r symbolically Th e bes t readin g o f thi s paintin g a s mor e tha n a famil y funeral containin g artisti c significanc e beyon d simpl e representation, i s tha t o f Courbe t himsel f wh o sai d i n Antwer p i n 186 1 tha t Burial at Ornans wa s ". .i n reality th e buria l o f Romanti c art." 10 2 I n hi s 186 1 profession defoi, Courbe t too k thi s positio n regardin g The Burial i n hi s explanatio n o f Realis t art particularl y wit h respec t t o hi s ow n art a s wil l b e discusse d i n detai l i n chapte r five 10 0 Ibid 174 10 1 Th e paintin g coul d als o b e rea d a s th e fina l layin g t o res t o f th e revolutionar y ideal s o f 1848 1 0 9 Pau l B Crapo "Disjunctur e o n th e Left : Courbe t an d th e Antwer p Conferenc e o f 1861, Art History 14 no 1 (Marc h 1991) : 84 Crap o quote s her e fro m Gustav e Courbet Profession de Foi firs t printe d i n Le Precurseur (Augus t 22 1861) 3 2

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Fig 5 : The Peasants ofFlagey Returning from the Fair, Gustav e Courbet 185 0 I n The Peasants ofFlagey Returning from the Fair, Courbe t agai n use s th e trope s o f histor y paintin g an d applie s the m t o th e live s o f th e villagers H e sho w u s th e sturd y livestoc k an d equall y sturd y peasant s i n al l thei r rusti c glory a n historica l equestria n piec e i n man y ways but on e i n whic h th e trope s hav e bee n turne d o n thei r head I n lie u o f noble s an d warrior s o f th e past typicall y depicte d i n heroi c style w e se e tha t conventio n modifie d t o signif y th e importanc e o f th e grea t masse s o f th e rura l populatio n rathe r tha n a single individualize d personality Th e grea t ma n o f th e pas t i s replace d b y th e commo n ma n o f contemporar y life Addressin g thes e thre e manifest o work s i s key a s the y wer e amon g th e grou p whic h Courbe t sen t t o th e Salo n o f 1850/185 1 an d wer e th e one s commente d upo n i n particula r b y Proudho n o n th e occasio n o f thei r firs t meeting Accordin g t o Clark 3 3

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tha t Salo n wa s particularl y politica l i n nature wit h severa l o f th e work s representin g th e force s o f order Meissonier' s La Barricade an d Muller' s Roll Call of the Last Victims of the Terror provide d illustratio n o f th e "horror s o f revolutio n an d th e necessit y o f moderation." 10 4 I n on e smal l wa y Courbe t di d allo w hi s ar t t o com e t o th e suppor t o f th e revolutionar y caus e fo r whic h s o man y o f hi s friend s fought Whe n Baudelaire Champfleur y an d Charle s Touban mutuall y conceive d o f a revolutionar y pape r t o b e publishe d durin g th e earl y day s o f th e uprising Courbe t wa s willin g t o sketc h th e frontispiec e fo r them a fighte r ato p th e barricade s wavin g a muske t an d th e tricolo r flag, clearl y reminiscen t o f Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People o f a n earlie r generation Th e publication Salut Public, laste d tw o issues Th e victor s o f 184 8 continue d t o contro l th e officia l artworl d o f Franc e a s sanctione d b y th e Academie Th e Action s Durin g th e grea t revolutionar y yea r o f 184 8 Courbe t too k n o over t politica l o r revolutionar y actio n a t all an d Gerstl e Mac k report s i n hi s biograph y o f Courbet tha t "th e commencemen t o f th e revolutio n disturbe d (him ) ver y slightly." 10 5 Thi s relativ e indifferenc e t o th e blood y action s i n th e street s an d th e politic s surroundin g them whic h was simila r a t th e tim e t o th e initia l indifferenc e o f hi s frien d Baudelaire, 1 Clark Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the Revolution of 1848, 131 10 4 Ibid 131 10 5 Mack Gustave Courbet, 48 10 6 J.W Burrow The Crisis of Reason: European Thought, 1848-1914 (Ne w Haven/London : Yal e Universit y Press 2000) 15 3 4

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wa s t o chang e dramaticall y b y th e tim e o f th e Commune I t i s ye t on e mor e exampl e o f th e correction s i n th e trajector y o f Courbet' s life Courbet' s activitie s durin g th e revolutio n o f 184 8 ar e difficul t t o assess particularl y i n vie w o f th e difficult y o f acceptin g hi s letter s a t fac e value A s Mac k furthe r observe d i n hi s definitiv e biography : "Eve n i n hi s calmes t moment s Courbe t neve r allowe d factua l precisio n t o hampe r hi s inclinatio n t o overstat e an d dramatize" 10 7 However thos e activitie s mus t b e assesse d i n orde r t o hav e a ful l understandin g o f th e chang e whic h too k plac e i n Courbet' s approac h t o revolutio n ove r th e twent y thre e year s betwee n th e uprising s o f 184 8 an d 1871 On e o f th e ke y piece s o f evidenc e speakin g t o thi s observatio n i s hi s lette r t o famil y o f Apri l 17 1848 Whe n addressin g th e action s o f th e Nationa l Guar d an d th e peopl e o f Pari s h e tol d hi s famil y I wil l wea r m y Nationa l Guar d outfi t ever y day I wil l loo k splendi d 1 O R i n it an d the y wil l tak e m e fo r a n enrage d citizen. Ye t contrar y t o Courbet' s remark s i n thi s letter ther e i s absolutel y n o evidenc e tha t h e eve r joine d th e Guar d o r too k par t i n an y othe r proactiv e revolutionar y activities 0 9 I n hi s authoritativ e wor k Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution, T.J Clar k confirm s tha t fac t an d add s th e observatio n tha t "hardl y a trac e o f politica l involvemen t i n th e streets...h e di d no t figh t o n th e barricades ; h e avoide d claimin g that, (italic s i n original ) eve n i n 1871," 11 0 a clea r referenc e t o Courbet' s self-reinventio n whil e campaignin g fo r politica l offic e wit h th e Commune W e wil l argu e late r i n thi s thesi s 1 A T Mack Gustave Courbet, 52 1O R Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 80 10 9 Fo r observations o n thi s subjec t see Clar k (1976 ) 34 Metropolita n Museu m o f Ar t (2008 ) 432 an d Ch u (1992) 81 Clark Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the Revolution of 1848, 47 3 5

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tha t Courbet' s claim s i n hi s 187 1 profession defoi wer e exaggerated Clark' s observatio n indicate s tha t h e concur s tha t th e profession wa s revisonist bu t tha t eve n wit h a certai n leve l o f exaggeration, Courbe t di d no t g o s o fa r a s t o clai m actua l experienc e a t th e barricades Hi s earl y apath y turne d t o shoc k whe n tw o month s afte r th e Apri l 17 t h letter Courbe t agai n wrot e t o hi s family durin g th e blood y Jun e Days describin g event s i n th e city an d no w tellin g the m tha t h e wa s mos t definitel y no t involve d i n th e fighting "W e ar e i n (th e middl e of ) a terribl e civi l war. . 1 don' t fight fo r tw o reasons First becaus e I d o no t believ e i n war s fough t wit h gun s an d cannon an d becaus e i t run s counte r t o m y principles...Th e secon d reaso n i s tha t I hav e n o weapon s an d canno t b e tempted. Compare d t o th e seemingl y jocula r remar k i n th e earlie r letter thi s commen t i s i n accordanc e wit h th e pacifis t principle s o f Proudhon an d woul d see m t o carr y mor e weigh t i n assessin g th e realit y o f th e situation A s violenc e continue d i n th e capita l int o 184 9 Courbe t agai n reassure d hi s famil y tha t h e wa s no t involved tellin g the m tha t "a s fo r me i n thi s busines s I wag e m y figh t entirel y wit h words." 11 2 I t i s fortunat e fo r bot h Courbe t an d th e artworl d tha t suc h wa s th e case Thi s lette r wa s writte n tw o day s afte r th e openin g o f th e Salo n o f 1849 whic h gav e Courbe t wha t ma y b e hi s greates t recognitio n fro m tha t institution Amon g th e twelv e canvasse s whic h h e submitte d wa s Dinner at Ornans, whic h wo n hi m hi s onl y gol d meda l an d whic h i s hi s onl y majo r wor k t o hav e bee n purchase d b y th e government trul y a n exceptiona l yea r fo r Courbet Thi s painting whic h ha s bee n Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 81 11 2 Ibid 83 3 6

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describe d b y ar t historia n Michae l Frie d a s th e first o f Courbet' s "breakthroug h 11 1 pictures wa s honore d b y th e Salo n whic h th e Metropolita n Museu m o f Ar t considere d t o b e "exceptionall y liberal i n it s views. 11 4 Th e portraya l o f rustic s i n a homel y atmospher e was quit e acceptabl e t o tha t particula r jur y a s i t compare d wel l formall y t o th e work s o f grea t Dutc h masters A s writte n b y Champfleur y a t th e time "yesterda y n o on e kne w hi s name...today hi s nam e i s o n everyone' s lips." 11 5 U p unti l thi s tim e i n hi s life Courbet' s emotionall y founde d revolutionar y perspectiv e ha d bee n largel y a resul t o f hi s grandfather' s influence No t onl y ha d grandfathe r Oudo t bee n a revolutionar y republican bu t th e family particularl y Gustave regarde d tha t fac t wit h pride Hi s influenc e extende d throug h th e generations "Ther e ar e certai n law s o f birt h tha t ar e difficul t t o break M y grandfather wh o was a 179 3 republican adopte d a maxi m tha t h e alway s repeate d t o me : 'Shou t lou d an d wal k straight. M y fathe r ha s alway s followe d i t an d I hav e don e th e same." 11 6 Hi s devotio n t o hi s grandfathe r extende d a s fa r a s hi s refusa l t o spen d th e summe r o f 184 5 i n Flage y wit h hi s parents s o tha t h e coul d liv e wit h hi s grandfathe r i n Ornans H e eve n wrot e t o hi s parent s tha t h e wishe d t o spen d th e tim e wit h hi s grandparent s "becaus e the y raise d m e an d hav e alway s bee n ver y goo d t o me I wan t t o liv e wit h the m a s muc h a s possible," 11 7 certainl y a testamen t t o affectio n an d devotio n comin g fro m a youn g ma n o f twent y fiv e livin g i n th e bohemia n atmospher e o f Lef t Ban k Paris Grandfathe r Oudot th e family' s 11 3 Metropolita n Museu m o f Art Gustave Courbet, 156 Miche l Hilaire 11 4 Ibid 157 11 5 Ibid 157 1 1 Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 192 11 7 Ibid 56 3 7

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revolutionar y hero die d i n 1848 leavin g th e artis t withou t hi s guidance th e revolutionar y traveler withou t hi s compass Fo r th e firs t twent y nin e year s o f hi s life Courbe t ha d th e benefi t o f a stron g advocat e o f revolutionar y progres s i n a ma n who m h e greatl y respecte d an d admired Tha t voic e wa s no w silent But o n Friday Apri l 11 185 1 a ne w persona l influenc e cam e t o bea r o n Courbet an d th e seed s tha t ha d bee n plante d b y hi s famil y bega n t o flower unde r th e warmt h tha t h e soo n fel t fo r Pierre-Josep h Proudhon despit e th e notabl e lac k o f reciproca l warmt h fro m th e philosopher A s Proudho n recorde d i n hi s diar y fo r tha t da y "Apri l 11. Wen t out lunche d wit h Richardet. .th e artis t Courbet Professo r Bonvolot..."' 1 8 W e not e tha t th e journa l entr y doe s no t refe r t o "m y ol d frien d Courbet" "m y associat e Courbet" o r anythin g o f tha t natur e whic h woul d indicat e anythin g othe r tha n a firs t meetin g o f celebrities Proudhon' s not e i s crisp clea r an d emotionall y uninvolved H e goe s o n t o not e severa l o f Courbet' s works includin g Burial at Ornans, Return from the Fair, an d The Stonebreakers, observin g tha t th e artist' s wor k depict s th e "uglines s o f reality bu t wit h grea t power." 11 9 Proudhon' s diar y recor d o f thi s meeting first note d b y Bowness i s th e earlies t writte n indicatio n tha t Courbe t an d Proudho n actuall y met Th e scholarl y literatur e typicall y indicate s th e suppose d earlier meetin g date generall y give n a s 184 7 o r i ^ A 1848 whic h ha s becom e canonical However thi s late r dat e (Apri l 1851 ) i s th e onl y on e supporte d b y documentation Thi s meetin g ha s al l th e appearance s o f bein g 11 8 Bowness "Courbet' s Proudhon, 124 11 9 Ibid 124 12 0 Fo r th e earlier dat e se e Rubi n (1980) Crap o (1991) Metropolita n Museu m o f Ar t (2008) Mac k (1951) 3 8

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a n arrange d meetin g o f celebritie s a s suggeste d b y Bowness Proudhon alread y th e famou s philosopher play s hos t t o th e mor e recentl y famou s painter Th e meetin g occurre d jus t eleve n day s afte r th e closin g o f th e Salo n fo r tha t year Thi s timin g i s significan t but previousl y unremarke d upon likel y du e t o th e fac t tha t th e date s o f thes e tw o occurrence s (th e closin g o f th e Salo n an d th e documente d meeting ) ar e foun d i n totall y unrelate d databases th e record s o f th e Salo n an d Proudhon' s Carnets. I t was a t thi s Salo n tha t Courbe t exhibited amon g a tota l o f nin e paintings th e thre e painting s mentione d b y Proudho n i n hi s journal Ther e wa s a t th e tim e livel y debat e i n Frenc h intellectua l circle s abou t Courbe t an d hi s work particularl y th e thre e work s mentione d b y Proudhon non e o f whic h wer e t o receiv e a meda l a t th e awar d announcemen t o f Ma y 3 I n hi s Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution, T.J Clar k characterize s th e critica l reactio n t o Courbet' s entrie s i n thi s Salo n a s "equivoca l an d uncertain." 12 2 H e say s tha t I judge d th e overal l reactio n o f eigh t critic s t o b e on e o f outrigh t fury o f eightee n t o b e unmistakabl e hostility o f fiv e t o b e criticis m withou t rancor o f seve n t o b e som e kin d o f equivocation. .an d o f thre e onl y t o b e outrigh t admiration." 12 3 Al l thre e o f thes e painting s ha d bee n include d i n th e Salon no t du e t o electio n b y th e selectio n committee but becaus e Courbe t ha d bee n awarde d a gol d meda l a t th e 184 9 Salon fo r After Dinner at Ornans, (which i n a rarit y fo r Courbet wa s Bowness "Courbet' s Proudhon, 124 Clark Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution, 133 Ibid 133 3 9

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purchase d b y th e Frenc h government ) an d therefore coul d no t b e denied 12 4 unde r th e rule s i n effec t i n 1851 Lac k o f medal s awarde d b y th e Salo n jur y wa s nothin g ne w t o Courbet I n fact ove r severa l year s o f submissions painting s suc h a s Return from the Conference, Burial at Ornans, The Studio, an d The Awakening wer e rejecte d i n thei r entiret y eithe r b y th e Salo n o r th e Expositio n Universelle Ther e i s littl e evidenc e t o suppor t th e contentio n tha t Courbe t an d Proudho n ha d me t i n 1848 an d eve n les s t o sugges t tha t the y wer e "constan t companions" a n assertio n mad e i n 195 6 i n th e Georg e Woodcoc k biograph y o f Proudho n whic h i s largel y hagiographic 12 5 i n nature I t remain s a distortio n o f th e relationshi p whic h ha s bee n maintaine d unti l ver y recently, 1 an d i s stil l maintaine d b y man y scholars Thi s distortio n ha s create d th e incorrec t inferenc e tha t th e relationshi p wa s mutuall y sough t an d mutuall y enjoyed Suc h was no t th e cas e a s wil l b e discusse d i n dept h i n chapte r five Prio r t o Ma y 25 1863 whe n Courbe t wrot e hi s firs t extan t lette r t o Proudhon h e ha d writte n extensivel y t o friend s lik e Franci s We y ( 9 letters) Ma x Bucho n ( 9 letters) Alfre d Bruyas (1 1 letters) Champfleur y ( 8 letters) an d Aman d Gautier ( 7 letters) bu t no t a singl e lette r t o Proudhon Th e bul k o f thi s correspondenc e wit h friend s date d fro m 1849 prio r t o whic h h e ha d communicate d almos t exclusivel y wit h hi s family hi s mos t prolifi c correspondenc e reserve d fo r famil y members wit h a n impressiv e eight y letter s writte n t o the m i n th e year s fro m 183 7 t o 1863 12 4 Metropolita n Museu m o f Art Gustave Courbet, 432 Notes Th e Salo n change d it s rule s fro m tim e t o time resultin g i n th e inclusio n o r rejectio n o f variou s works dependin g o n th e rule s i n effec t fo r an y particula r Salon 1 9 ^ Thi s work whil e ofte n cited itsel f lack s muc h i n th e wa y o f citation s an d i s filled wit h praisefu l observations 12 6 Bowness "Courbet' s Proudhon, 124 4 0

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Th e meetin g mentione d b y Proudho n wa s i n Saint e Pelagi e prison wher e th e philosophe r was jaile d fo r hi s rhetori c whic h wa s officiall y deeme d t o b e sedition Ironically i t woul d b e th e sam e priso n i n whic h Courbe t serve d th e bul k o f hi s sentenc e i n 187 1 fo r hi s action s durin g th e perio d o f th e Commune Th e incarceratio n o f politica l prisoner s i n Saint e Pelagi e wa s quit e civilize d b y genera l priso n standards Buil t i n 166 5 a s a hospic e fo r retire d prostitutes i t ha d n o cell s a t all mos t prisoner s bein g house d i n militar y styl e barracks Th e mor e significan t o f th e politica l prisoners lik e Proudho n an d late r Courbet ha d privat e room s wit h door s whic h wer e kep t unlocke d othe r tha n a t nigh t an d wer e allowe d visitor s a t th e priso n an d eve n hom e visit s wit h thei r families Additionally the y wer e allowe d th e benefi t o f livin g a la pistol, whic h mean t tha t the y coul d hav e thei r meal s delivere d (a t thei r ow n expense ) fro m Parisia n restaurants a benefi t whic h Courbe t wa s quit e happ y t o tak e advantag e of I n on e o f hi s minima l writte n reference s t o Courbet Proudho n note s tha t upo n hi s releas e o n Jun e 4 1852 "Jun e 4 185 2 Walke d t o th e Meudo n wit h Darimon Bouteville Courbet." 1 2 Th e artis t wa s on e o f th e peopl e wh o me t Proudho n upo n hi s release whe n the y strolle d t o th e Meudo n fores t fo r wha t T.J Clar k regarde d a s "a n org y o f bee r an d song," 12 8 a n attributio n typica l fo r Courbet but frankl y suspec t wit h respec t t o th e prudis h an d unsociabl e Proudhon I n contras t t o th e ebullien t an d har d drinkin g Courbet Proudho n was note d fo r hi s abstemiou s nature I n hi s biograph y o f Ibid 124 Clark Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution, 156 4 1

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Courbet Mac k note s tha t Proudho n was "lik e mos t zealots somewha t narro w minde d 1 9 Q an d self-righteous Hi s mora l cod e was rigid hi s persona l lif e irreproachable. Throughou t th e year s leadin g u p t o 185 3 Courbet' s ar t wa s foremost hi s famil y wa s hi s greates t influence an d hi s politica l activitie s wer e minimal Tha t change d wit h hi s meetin g o f Proudho n i n 1851 hi s upcomin g tur n fro m socialis t ar t t o commercia l art an d hi s soo n t o b e increasin g leve l o f politica l activism B y 185 1 i t ha d becom e clea r t o friend s an d famil y tha t Courbe t wa s no w becomin g a seriou s socialist Nin e month s prio r t o Courbet' s publi c proclamatio n o f same Cuenot wrot e t o Courbet' s siste r Juliette i n Februar y o f 185 1 tha t he r brother "i s a terribl e socialist tha t h e i s th e leade r o f a ban d o f conspirators This the y add i s obviou s i n hi s painting Th e ma n i s a savage," 13 0 a bi t o f a n exaggeratio n t o b e sure bu t no t fa r of f th e mark Th e change s first mentione d i n th e beginnin g o f thi s chapte r ha d no w becom e apparen t t o friend s an d family a s wel l a s th e public 19 Q Mack Gustave Courbet, 54 13 0 Ibid 52,53 Her e Mac k quote s fro m a lette r fro m Cueno t t o Juliett e Courbet 4 2

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CHAPTE R FOUR : COURBE T TH E MAN HI S AR T AN D HI S ACTIONS 1848 187 7 "Realis t stories lace d wit h philosoph y an d socialis t politics wil l b e a positiv e substitut e fo r th e worthles s hackneye d novel I coul d d o te n book s lik e this i f someon e helpe d me." 13 1 (1868 ) I a m no t onl y a painter bu t a man ; I ca n giv e m y reasone d opinio n i n morality i n philosophy i n politics i n poetry a s i n painting." 1 (1853 ) Gustav e Courbe t "h e ha s th e min d o f a ma n o f th e world ; nevertheles s h e i s nothin g bu t a painter ; h e ca n neithe r tal k no r write ; classica l studie s hav e lef t fe w trace s o n him. .thoug h h e talk s a grea t deal hi s thought s ar e disconnected. Yes decidedly h e i s stupid! Pierre-Josep h Proudho n 186 3 "I f Courbet wh o i s sai d t o b e ver y conceited derive s hi s concei t fro m th e lesson s h e think s h e i s teachin g us I a m tempte d t o sen d hi m bac k t o school H e shoul d kno w tha t h e i s nothin g but a poor great an d ver y ignoran t man" 13 5 Victo r Hug o 186 6 Raconteu r an d reprobate a Rabelaisia n characte r wit h trul y gargantua n appetites i n th e year s leadin g u p t o hi s participatio n i n th e Pari s Commun e o f 1871 Courbe t becam e a caricatur e o f himself 13 1 Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 325 I n thi s lette r t o Buchon Courbe t i s referrin g t o a pamphlet Une election au grande-duche de Gerolstein, b y Ordinaire 13 2 Rubin Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, 79 Her e Rubi n cite s Courbe t pe r Silvestre Histoire des artistes vivants. Thi s referenc e ha s th e appearanc e o f bein g Silvestre' s interpretatio n o f Courbet' s word s i n hi s lette r t o Alfre d Bruya s o f October 1853 13 3 Mack Gustave Courbet, 184 Rubin Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, 160 13 5 Mack Gustave Courbet, 185 4 3

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Th e Ma n Th e persona l myt h whic h cam e t o consum e th e ma n wa s tha t o f th e rusti c cavalier ; th e hearty har d drinkin g Franc-Comtoi s peasant-philosopher, capabl e o f swappin g storie s an d drinkin g unti l daw n wit h th e bes t o f th e Parisia n bohemians a s wel l a s th e sturd y tradesman I n tha t tim e an d plac e ther e existe d a literary/artisti c conventio n t o whic h Courbe t subscribed I n literature th e for m o f thi s conventio n wa s th e slightl y veile d autobiography create d b y Georg e San d an d othe r authors Fo r Courbet th e conventio n manifeste d itsel f i n hi s numerou s self-portraits whic h Ch u refer s t o a s "posing" Sh e tell s u s tha t hi s self-portrait s i n a variet y o f pose s creat e a "visual 1 ^ 7 partl y fictiona l autobiography. Thi s i s show n i n hi s portrai t o f himsel f an d Bruyas The Meeting, i n whic h h e posit s himsel f a s a travelin g artisan a worke r wit h tools th e equa l i n ever y wa y o f hi s ric h patron Th e sli m dand y o f 185 2 wa s gone tha t phas e havin g passed replace d b y th e sturd y provincial-come-to-town continuin g t o b e concerne d wit h cuttin g a dashin g figure but no w becomin g robus t afte r year s o f excess Hi s drinkin g an d womanizin g wer e beginnin g t o tak e a toll Eve n whe n h e wa s visitin g hi s famil y i n th e supposedl y restorativ e environ s o f Ornans h e tol d ar t criti c an d frien d Champfleury "I n Ornan s I frequen t a caf e o f poacher s an d outlaws I scre w a waitress Non e o f tha t cheer s m e 13 6 Petr a ten-Doesschate Chu The Most Arrogant Man in France: Gustave Courbet and the Nineteenth Century Media Culture (Princeton/Oxford : Princeto n Universit y Press 2007) 18 13 7 Ibid 19 4 4

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up." 13 8 Champfleur y clearl y too k notic e o f hi s friend' s dissipation I n hi s Apri l 186 5 lette r t o clos e mutua l frien d Ma x Bucho n h e tol d him I hav e com e t o realiz e that gifte d wit h grea t talent s a s a painter h e ha s le t the m drow n i n beer." 13 9 "Neithe r doctrine s no r explanation s o f hi s syste m ca n alte r th e fac t tha t Courbe t ha s gon e of f th e trac k sinc e The Burial an d After Dinner at Ornans. Eve r sinc e h e painte d thos e tw o picture s I hav e regarde d hi m a s a ma n gon e astray." 14 0 Fig s 6 an d 7 : Le Fils de Pere Duchene an d Souvenirs de La Commune H e ha d finall y com e t o b e th e ma n s o savagel y caricature d i n Souvenirs de La Commune an d Le Fils de Pere Duchene, personally topplin g th e Vendom e column destroyin g i t i n th e guis e o f th e ol d Stonebreaker himself H e ha d become i n th e seemingl y uncharitabl e an d somewha t subjectiv e word s o f historia n Alistai r Hom e "gros s an d heavil y bearde d an d als o sodde n wit h drink. .nois y an d drunke n ol d Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 132 Mack Gustave Courbet, 198 Ibid 140 4 5

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Courbet" 14 1 Th e year s ha d no t bee n kin d t o Courbet bot h wit h healt h an d t o hi s art respec t t o hi s physica l Th e year s fro m Proudhon' s releas e fro m priso n i n 185 2 an d hi s deat h i n 186 5 wer e difficul t a s well ; filled wit h writing famil y problem s an d lega l issue s fo r th e anarchist leavin g littl e tim e o r energ y fo r th e interactio n wit h Courbe t whic h i s s o ofte n erroneousl y cited Th e documentar y evidenc e doe s no t suppor t hig h level s o f interaction Fig 8 : Nada r phot o o f Proudon circ a mi d 1850 s Alistai r Home The Fall of Paris: The Siege and The Commune 1870-71 (London Pengui n Books 2007) 332 299 Thi s characterizatio n b y Hom e appear s t o b e born e ou t b y th e contemporar y writing s o f Courbet hi s famil y an d friends a s wel l a s critic s 4 6

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O n Apri l 22 185 8 Proudho n publishe d hi s mos t powerfu l anti-Catholi c Churc h work De la Justice dans la Revolution et dans I'Eglise, i n whic h Proudho n proclaime d tha t "th e objec t o f philosoph y i s t o teac h ma n t o thin k fo r himself." 14 2 Withi n a wee k th e wor k wa s suppresse d b y th e Frenc h authoritie s an d banne d b y th e Prussians Charge s wer e brought an d o n Jun e 6 l Proudho n wa s i n cour t defendin g himsel f agains t claim s o f "reproductio n i n ba d fait h o f fals e news. .Excitemen t o f hatre d amon g citizens. .(and ) Outrag e t o publi c an d religiou s morality." 14 3 I n a on e da y hearing Proudho n wa s convicte d an d sentence d t o thre e year s i n priso n an d a fine o f fou r thousan d francs Eve n hi s publishe r an d hi s printe r wer e convicted imprisone d an d fined. I n thi s atmospher e intende d t o suppres s hi s writin g b y convictin g al l wh o assiste d him Proudho n sa w n o alternativ e tha n t o flee th e country leavin g fo r Brussel s b y th e followin g month Fro m 185 8 t o 186 2 Proudho n remaine d i n Brussels hi s wif e an d famil y accompanyin g hi m fo r shor t periods durin g whic h the y suffere d variou s illnesse s an d endure d domesti c strife, 14 4 but the n returnin g t o Franc e an d leavin g hi m periodicall y alon e i n hi s exile Thi s stat e o f affairs durin g whic h Proudho n continue d t o write laste d fo r fou r year s unti l hi s retur n t o Pari s followin g a declaratio n o f amnesty Fo r hi s remainin g year s i n Paris Proudho n continue d t o wor k a s bes t hi s declinin g healt h woul d allo w him Worsenin g asthmati c condition s accompanie d b y wha t migh t toda y b e diagnose d a s congestiv e hear t failur e cause d a rapi d physica l deterioration a s h e tol d hi s frien d Delhass e i n 1864 "M y eye s se e th e letter s dancin g Woodcock Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 204 14 3 Ibid 216 14 4 Ibid 226 4 7

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o n th e book s I read m y han d tremble s i n writing an d I ca n collec t m y thought s onl y wit h difficulty." 14 5 I n Novembe r o f 1864 Proudhon' s ol d friend ally an d fello w anarchis t Mikhai l Bakuni n abandone d a journe y t o Florenc e t o trave l t o Proudhon' s bedsid e fo r on e las t goo d nature d all-nigh t debate jus t a s i n th e ol d days O n Januar y 19 th 186 5 Pierre Josep h Proudho n die d a t ag e fifty-six. Hi s buria l a t th e cemeter y o f Pass y wa s attende d b y si x thousan d mourners Gustav e Courbe t wa s no t amon g them. 1 4 Th e Ar t I n thes e year s Courbet' s artisti c outpu t registere d a significan t chang e i n subjec t matte r a s wel l a s a deterioratio n i n quality Wit h a singl e exceptio n (The Beggar's Alms, universall y dislike d b y th e critics), 14 7 th e earl y socialis t an d monumenta l canvase s wer e gone replace d b y hi s mor e marketabl e portraits landscapes huntin g scenes an d nudes A s h e channele d hi s revolutionar y impulse s int o direc t politica l action h e channele d hi s mus e int o becomin g a commercia l success Non e o f thi s wor k woul d approac h th e qualit y o f hi s earlier efforts an d almos t al l o f i t wa s derivativ e an d uninspired Ar t critic s an d historian s hav e typicall y countenance d thos e effort s b y attemptin g t o inser t a critica l glos s o n th e work Eve n Wagner i n he r excellen t piec e o n 14 5 Ibid 263 14 6 Courbet' s letter s indicat e tha t h e wa s i n Ornan s th e da y o f Proudhon' s deat h bu t wa s mad e awar e o f i t b y th e nex t day Ther e wa s tim e t o g o t o Paris 14 7 Thi s painting don e i n 186 8 wa s Courbet' s final seriou s attemp t a t sociall y consciou s painting I t was roundl y criticize d b y th e commentator s o f th e da y a s hi s final degeneratio n int o uglines s fo r th e sak e o f ugliness 1 AQ Mack Gustave Courbet, 328 4 8

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Courbet' s landscapes whil e acknowledgin g th e financia l aspect s o f th e work tell s th e reade r tha t "the y represen t a n idealizatio n o f th e natura l world," 14 9 an d thi s ma y wel l b e accurate Yet i n a fre e marke t economy, marketabilit y i s key th e simpl e answe r i s best Occam' s Razo r holds Merchantabilit y an d qualit y ar e no t mutuall y exclusive bu t a s note d elsewher e i n thi s thesis Courbe t himsel f downplaye d th e significanc e o f thes e efforts an d ar t historia n T.J Clar k considere d Courbet' s landscape s t o b e formulai c an d "th e weakes t par t o f Courbet' s art." 15 0 Although a s alway s wit h Courbet' s letters car e mus t b e take n t o avoi d blin d acceptanc e o f hi s exaggerations i t i s clea r tha t hi s portraitur e wa s becomin g increasingl y in-demand B y 186 5 h e wa s writin g t o famil y an d friend s tha t I a m gainin g a matchles s reputatio n a s a portrai t painter Th e ladie s I won' t b e abl e t o d o her e wil l hav e themselve s don e thi s winte r i n Paris." 15 1 I hav e receive d ove r tw o thousan d ladie s i n m y studio al l wishin g t o hav e thei r portrait s painte d afte r the y sa w th e portrai t o f princes s Karoly." 15 2 I t i s arguable an d probable tha t th e actua l numbe r o f ladie s ma y hav e bee n betwee n on e o r tw o hundred rathe r tha n th e tw o thousan d claimed but hi s outpu t o f canvase s wa s impressiv e compare d t o hi s day s o f manifest o painting s durin g whic h hi s outpu t consiste d o f a fe w monumenta l painting s pe r year B y th e mi d 1860' s Courbet' s ar t bega n t o distanc e itsel f fro m th e teaching s o f Proudhon fo r who m ar t demande d socia l accountability "Art lik e liberty ha s a s it s 14 9 Wagner "Courbet' s Landscape s an d thei r Market, 429 1 5 Clark Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution, 132 1 Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 261. 1 S 9 Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 268 4 9

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subjec t ma n an d things;. .a s it s goa l i t ha s justice, 15 3 declare d Proudhon But Courbe t becam e les s intereste d i n socia l justice a t leas t insofa r a s hi s paintin g was concerned H e eve n wen t s o fa r i n 186 6 a s t o pain t a n idealize d portrai t o f th e finel y pedigree d dog s o f th e Comt e d e Choiseul a patro n o f Courbet' s i n th e 1860's an d a membe r o f th e Frenc h aristocrac y a t whos e estat e h e visite d i n th e fal l o f 1866, 15 4 a canin e depictio n fa r remove d fro m th e simpl e inclusio n o f th e farmer' s do g i n The Burial. Wit h a lingerin g trac e o f hi s bourgeoi s roots an d th e associate d fascinatio n wit h hi s "betters" h e informe d hi s siste r whe n describin g th e count tha t "h e ha s th e trul y great distinguishe d manner s o f France' s best-bre d ages," 15 5 a singularl y descriptiv e remar k fro m th e self-proclaime d revolutionary H e waxe s eloquen t i n hi s descriptio n o f th e whit e ti e dinne r parties th e ocea n view an d th e helpfu l domesti c servants I n a them e tha t Courbe t wa s t o expres s fo r years aristocrac y tha t criticize d hi m fo r hi s socialis t painting s wa s essentiall y evi l an d doome d the y hav e onl y on e o r tw o year s left," 1 5 whil e th e aristocrat s who m supporte d hi s lifestyl e wer e distinguishe d an d well-bred I n additio n t o hi s portraiture hi s outpu t o f landscape s was prodigious O f th e sixty-plu s painting s whic h h e submitte d t o th e Salo n u p t o 1853 onl y fiftee n wer e landscapes. 15 7 Bu t b y 1862 whe n Courbe t wa s visitin g th e Saintong e regio n i n th e wes t o f Franc e an d stayin g a t th e chatea u o f hi s wealth y frien d Etienn e Baudry h e Rubin Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, 66 Metropolita n Museu m o f Art Gustave Courbet, 316 Laurenc e de s Cars Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 298 Ibid 298 Rubin Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, 8 5 0

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wa s abl e t o sen d thirt y thre e landscape s t o th e deale r Luquet Thi s transitio n ha s bee n characterize d a s bein g a mor e effective i f mor e subtle socia l tool" 15 9 b y Rubin an d a s "a n implici t challeng e t o governmenta l power" 16 0 b y Klau s Herding Bu t another mor e mundane readin g offer s itself Rathe r tha n bein g an y kin d o f subtl e socia l tool thi s transitio n i n interes t i s bette r explaine d b y basi c marketin g issues Courbe t turne d t o th e creatio n o f quantitie s o f lesse r genr e ar t a s a respons e t o hi s inabilit y t o fin d financial succes s i n th e sal e o f sociall y activis t art I n th e bourgeoi s ar t marke t o f th e 1860' s i n France moderatel y successfu l merchant s wer e mor e likel y t o purchas e landscape s an d still-life s tha n was th e governmen t t o purchas e monumenta l painting s fo r museum s o r palaces B y mid-summe r o f 186 1 Courbe t was braggin g t o hi s famil y abou t th e amount s o f mone y hi s painting s wer e beginnin g t o realize al l o f whic h wer e landscape s o r huntin g scene s o f on e sor t o r another Thi s tren d toward s financia l gai n rathe r tha n socialis t commentar y i n th e ar t itsel f continued an d wa s eve n magnifie d afte r hi s participatio n i n th e Commun e whic h le d t o a n unanticipate d increas e i n th e valu e o f hi s painting s (whic h h e wa s mor e tha n happ y t o acknowledge ) a s wil l b e discusse d late r i n thi s chapter Thi s was remarkabl y differen t fro m hi s attitud e a s a youn g ma n o f twent y seven whe n h e tol d hi s famil y wit h respec t t o th e commercia l aspect s o f portraiture tha t "ther e i s n o wa y aroun d it i f yo u hav e t o ear n mone y wit h stuf f lik e tha t (portraits ) 15 8 Wagner "Courbet' s Landscape s an d thei r Market, 415 Rubin Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, 72 16 0 Wagner "Courbet' s Landscape s an d thei r Market, 411 Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 197 5 1

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yo u woul d b e bette r of f turnin g a wheel a t leas t yo u woul d no t hav e t o giv e u p you r convictions." 1 However conviction s ar e mutabl e things the y chang e wit h tim e an d circumstances an d s o the y di d fo r Courbet Evidently Courbe t himsel f was awar e tha t thes e painting s wer e les s desirabl e aestheticall y tha n wer e hi s previou s monumenta l work s an d hi s significan t figur e paintings I n 186 1 h e tol d August e Poulet-Malassi s tha t "a s I di d no t wan t t o sen d onl y animal s an d landscape s t o th e Universa l Exposition I bega n a figur e paintin g tha t I hop e t o finish." 1 3 Thi s chang e t o a marke t drive n strateg y wa s encourage d b y Champfleur y whe n h e tol d Max Bucho n tha t "Courbe t shoul d pain t simpl e subjects landscape s o f hi s ow n province ; thes e ar e hi s tru e vocation ; bu t grea t gods Le t hi m avoi d symbolis m an d satir e fo r whic h h e ha s n o talent!" 1 4 Champfleury' s comment s wer e born e ou t b y th e market Upo n Courbet' s death grea t painting s suc h a s Burial at Ornans an d The Studio remaine d unsol d an d ha d t o b e auctione d o r donate d b y hi s family I t i s her e tha t w e se e th e beginnin g o f Courbet' s mov e fro m artisti c activis m t o politica l activism I n th e pos t 184 8 politica l climat e i n France Courbe t kne w tha t whil e work s lik e Return From the Conference (hi s savag e anti-clerica l satire ) woul d neve r b e accepte d b y th e Salon The Battle of the Stags an d The Fox Hunt woul d b e quit e politicall y acceptable Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 58 Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 189 Mack Gustave Courbet, 186 5 2

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I n hi s lette r o f Jun e 186 1 t o hi s family h e goe s t o grea t length s describin g th e price s h e was receivin g fo r thes e sor t o f pieces Th e painting s became a t best decorative but decorativ e ar t i s rarel y goo d art Th e resistanc e b y th e regime an d hence th e artisti c establishment t o acceptanc e o f Courbet' s critica l wor k is i n fact wha t le d t o th e deepe r cooperatio n betwee n Courbe t an d Proudho n whic h woul d com e wit h thei r mutua l interes t i n Return from the Conference. Courbet' s huntin g scene s ar e notabl y derivative Capitalizin g o n th e grea t popularit y o f th e Englis h painte r Edwi n Landsee r an d tha t artist' s succes s a t th e Exhibitio n Universell e o f 1855 Courbe t create d hi s larg e huntin g canvases Thi s wa s a natura l directio n fo r Courbe t t o procee d a s h e ha d a grea t lov e o f huntin g an d th e outdoors Eve r th e studi o painter an d workin g no t fro m lif e bu t fro m carcasse s foun d i n Paris h e create d work s whic h to o ofte n reflec t thos e o f th e Englis h maste r o f th e genre bu t reflec t tha t master' s wor k poorly I t i s tru e tha t Landseer' s wor k i s mor e Romanti c tha n Realist an d i n hi s huntin g scenes Courbe t transgresse s hi s Realis t cod e an d indulge s himsel f i n a bi t o f Romanti c art hi s homag e t o Landseer But Courbet' s wor k pale s i n compariso n t o Deer and Deerhounds in a Mountain Torrent, Study of a Dead Stag, an d certainl y i n compariso n t o Landseer' s 185 1 magnu m opus The Monarch of the Glen. Courbet' s kills painte d fro m taxiderm y specimen s i n Paris ar e stif f an d unconvincing On e importan t face t o f Courbet' s huntin g scene s ha s bee n overlooke d b y ever y majo r commentato r fo r ove r a hundred years Courbet' s painting s ar e actuall y no t abou t hunting The y ar e abou t killing ver y muc h a differen t thing A s Frie d note d i n 16 5 Metropolita n Museu m o f Art Gustave Courbet, 390 Laurenc e d e Cars 5 3

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Courbet's Realism, 166 Courbet wh o painte d himsel f int o The Quarry, wa s essentiall y a n "agen t o f pai n an d death. Courbe t ha d a propensit y fo r mas s slaughter I hav e gon e huntin g abou t te n times I kille d thi s magnificen t stag fou r o r fiv e bucks abou t thirt y hares," 16 8 recitin g a litan y o f death B y 1867 whe n Courbe t painte d Death of the Stag, th e viewe r ca n se e that a s Frie d put it "th e depictio n o f pai n an d violenc e become s increasingl y explicit wit h disturbin g consequence s fo r Courbet' s art. Ther e i s nothin g honorabl e abou t abus e o f th e prey nothin g honorabl e abou t savager y amon g th e hound s a s depicte d b y Courbet Th e tru e hunte r relishe s th e spiri t o f th e chase th e wor k o f a goo d dog th e beaut y o f a fine firearm th e feedin g o f a famil y throug h th e hunter' s ow n efforts an d mos t importantly th e spiri t o f th e hunte d anima l itself Courbet' s wor k memorialize s non e o f thes e things H e memorialize s death th e kill th e corps e o f th e animal hi s wor k i s no t a n homag e t o Lanseer I t i s a n homag e t o death I n fairnes s t o Courbet thi s readin g o f hi s wor k bring s th e sensitivitie s o f th e twent y first centur y practice s o f huntin g t o bea r o n a nineteent h centur y hunte r an d painter A revie w o f hi s painting s o f nude s indicate s that i n thes e years Courbet' s relationship s wit h wome n colore d hi s artisti c efforts Lik e Proudhon wh o firmly believe d tha t wome n wer e mean t t o b e subservien t t o men "woman wh o ha s neithe r 16 6 Fried' s wor k i n Courbet's Realism ha s bee n criticize d significantl y b y Roge r Kimball I n hi s Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Our Higher Education (Chicago : Iva n R Dee 2008 ) h e point s ou t tha t Fried' s readin g o f The Quarry present s a n overl y "sel f referential visio n o f th e painting Additionally Fried' s interpretatio n i s hel d b y Kimbal l t o b e to o Freudia n i n nature insertin g sexua l issue s int o a wor k which accordin g t o Kimball hav e none Fo r a n in-dept h discussio n o f thi s subject se e Roge r Kimball Tenured Radicals, 88-94 16 7 Fried Courbet's Realism, 174 Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 193 16 9 Fried Courbet's Realism, 184 5 4

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aestheti c no r dialecti c faculties mus t b e subjec t t o an d faithfu l t o man," 17 0 Courbe t accorde d wome n a statu s tha t allowe d fo r the m t o b e littl e mor e tha n a sexua l convenienc e fo r men o r a t th e ver y least fo r him. 17 1 A s h e wrot e t o th e ma n wh o wa s arguabl y hi s closes t lon g tim e friend fro m who m h e ha d almos t n o secrets Ma x Buchon "knowin g ther e ar e wome n al l ove r th e world I se e n o reaso n t o carr y on e 1 7 9 wit h me. H e considere d himsel f t o b e quit e handsom e still ye t a s h e ha d fo r man y years h e preferre d th e attention s o f prostitute s t o meaningfu l relation s wit h women I a m a s incline d t o ge t marrie d a s I a m t o han g myself' 1 7 Despit e hi s disinclinatio n t o marry o r perhap s becaus e o f it h e di d manag e t o sir e a n illegitimat e so n fro m on e o f hi s liaisons a so n wit h who m h e ha d littl e contac t an d wh o die d young A s h e recounte d t o Bucho n i n th e sam e letter "her e ar e th e setback s i n m y lov e affairs. Jealous y o n th e par t o f Camelia. .Ros e i n prison ; Blanch e wil l replac e her. .mere Cade t i n lov e wit h me" 17 5 Al l o f who m ar e considere d b y Ch u t o b e ladie s o f a loca l brothel B y th e earl y 1870' s Courbe t considere d th e keepin g o f a mistres s t o b e a simpl e affai r o f economic s an d convenienc e i n which du e t o hi s immens e ego h e coul d not conceiv e o f rejection Regardin g hi s offe r o f sam e t o a loca l woman "I t i s impossibl e tha t Mile Leontine despit e th e stupi d advic e sh e ma y receiv e fro m th e peasants ma y no t accep t th e brillian t positio n tha t I a m offerin g her Sh e wil l b e indisputedl y th e mos t envie d woma n i n Franc e an d sh e coul d b e rebor n anothe r thre e Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 231 Mack Gustave Courbet, 39 Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 126 3 Ibid 52 Mack Gustave Courbet, 86 Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 126 5 5

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time s withou t eve r comin g acros s a positio n lik e thi s one," 17 6 a head y offe r indee d fo r a woma n o f th e provinces Nevertheless a n offe r whic h wa s rejected Althoug h ther e ma y see m t o th e twent y firs t centur y observe r t o b e a stron g Proudhonia n influenc e i n Courbet' s treatmen t o f women th e influence lik e muc h o f Proudhon' s influenc e o n Courbet was misunderstoo d b y th e painter Siege l represent s i n hi s 200 8 essa y Ambition, Commitment, and Subversion in Courbet's Realism, tha t "ther e seem s littl e reaso n t o thin k tha t hi s view s abou t wome n wer e 17 7 ver y fa r fro m thos e o f hi s misogynis t frien d Proudhon. But Proudhon' s attitudes althoug h flawed an d clearl y misogynist wer e intellectua l i n nature H e to o treate d wome n wit h seriou s disregard but hi s approac h strongl y differe d fro m th e objectificatio n whic h wa s th e hallmar k o f Courbet Proudhon' s relationshi p wit h wome n i n genera l wa s tha t o f a n intellectua l superio r t o hi s intellectua l inferiors H e contended i n hi s posthumousl y publishe d La Pornocratie, ou lesfemmes dans les temps moderns, tha t femal e Parisia n society i n it s attemp t a t securin g sexua l a s wel l a s intellectua l equivalenc y wit h men was a precurso r o f societa l devolution I t i s eas y t o se e Courbet' s attitude s reflecte d i n hi s nudes H e manage d t o sli p awa y fro m an y artisti c referenc e t o th e classi c nude s o f th e past n o ech o o f th e Venus of Urbino i n hi s work Instead Courbe t too k th e paintin g o f wome n awa y fro m th e classi c t o wha t ca n onl y b e calle d eroti c art depiction s wit h significan t lesbia n overtones t o wome n objectifie d i n th e extreme I t woul d b e difficul t t o find a mor e 17 6 Ibid 466 1 7 7 Jerrol d Seigel "Ambition Commitment an d Subversio n i n Courbet' s Realism, Modern Intellectual History 5 no 2 (2008) : 398 i no Hyams Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Revolutionary Life, Times and Work, 272 5 6

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objectifie d treatmen t o f a woman' s bod y tha n w e fin d i n The Origin of the World, a headles s femal e tors o bearin g neithe r arm s no r legs bu t exposin g clearl y define d genitali a an d don e i n a styl e evocativ e o f moder n photo-realism Unlik e Manet' s Olympia, whic h brok e fro m th e traditiona l mode l o f th e nude an d i s considere d b y T.J Clar k t o b e "th e foundin g monumen t o f moder n art," 17 9 Courbet' s wor k wa s no t notabl y ne w wit h respec t t o formalisti c aspect s suc h a s flatnes s o f th e scene outlinin g o f th e body o r franknes s o f th e gaze, al l o f whic h differentiate d Olympia fro m nude s o f th e past Ar t historia n Michae l Frie d i n Courbet's Realism point s ou t tha t thi s chang e i n th e aspec t o f th e gaz e i n Olympia actuall y put s th e beholde r a t th e 1 O A comman d o f th e subject reversin g th e traditiona l powe r relationship Courbet' s Origin coul d no t d o th e same I t privilege s an d empower s th e masculin e beholde r a t th e expens e o f th e subject A s Frie d pu t i t wit h referenc e t o Young Women, Courbe t ha s rendere d th e woma n a s a n "objec t (s ) o f masculin e sexua l possession." 18 1 A compariso n o f Origin wit h Olympia i s particularl y german e a s Courbe t too k Mane t t o tas k ove r tha t work referrin g t o i t a s "formles s an d flat." 18 2 Admittedly Origin, alon g wit h th e lesbia n inspire d Sleep, wa s don e o n commissio n fo r Kali l Bey a wealth y patro n o f th e art s wit h exoti c tastes wh o ha d bee n th e Ottoma n ambassado r t o th e T.J Clark The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers Revise d Editio n (Princeton : Princeto n Universit y Press 1999) 79 Fo r a n extensiv e discussio n o f Olympia se e Clar k (1999 ) page s 7 9 146 1R O Michae l Fried Courbet's Realism, 201 18 1 Ibid 197 1 R 9 Frederic k Hartt Art: A History of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture vol. 2 (Englewoo d Cliff s an d Ne w York : Prentice-Hall Harr y N Abrams 1976) 359 5 7

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18 ^ cour t o f th e Cza r a t St Petersburg an d wh o kep t th e painting s i n a n enclose d spac e fo r hi s privat e viewing Still fo r a painte r wh o wa s justl y famou s fo r allowin g n o on e t o defin e hi s ar t fo r him ever th e treatmen t ha d t o hav e com e fro m within a s h e accepte d n o dictate s fro m hi s customers th e government o r anyon e else U p unti l th e 1960' s th e paintin g entitle d The Origin of the World wa s generall y referre d t o a s a n unname d paintin g fo r a privat e collector an d neve r reproduced Origin an d Sleep provid e example s o f wha t ar t historia n Frederic k Har t referre d t o a s Courbet' s "ofte n provocativ e nudes." 18 4 Overal l durin g thes e years w e se e a movemen t awa y fro m sociall y consciou s ar t t o ar t o f a clearl y mercantil e nature uninspire d daubin g whic h sol d wel l int o th e ne w bourgeoi s artworl d whic h wa s growin g i n France I t i s difficul t t o determin e precisel y t o wha t exten t hi s politica l action s contribute d t o thi s chang e i n hi s art an d i t woul d b e impruden t t o sugges t tha t the y wer e th e onl y causativ e factor I t ca n b e argue d tha t th e marketin g issue s wer e significant a s wer e th e socia l condition s i n France Th e landscape s an d portrait s whic h Courbe t create d di d hav e a stronge r marke t amon g th e emergin g middl e classe s wh o wer e no w purchasin g art Thes e growin g classe s bought ar t tha t reflecte d thei r lives Th e transformatio n o f ar t a t thi s tim e ca n b e viewe d a s representativ e o f th e Hegelia n mode l i n whic h artist s first represen t a prio r universal transitionin g t o a particula r for m o f tha t universal finall y resolvin g int o Realism Mack Gustave Courbet, 213 Be y i s characterize d b y T.J Clar k a s "th e Turkis h admire r o f Courbet' s eroti c art. T.J Clark The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers, 307 1 R 4 Frederic k Hartt Art: A History of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, 354 5 8

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Additionally th e suggestio n coul d b e mad e tha t th e deterioratio n i n hi s ar t wa s simpl y a natura l effec t o f ageing However althoug h tha t hypothesi s i s interesting i t i s difficul t t o eithe r prov e o r disprove To o man y artist s hav e create d som e o f thei r bes t work s a t advance d age s fo r tha t argumen t t o b e accepte d withou t significan t researc h int o a larg e numbe r o f artist s an d th e wor k the y produce d a t variou s time s i n thei r lives whic h i s outside th e scop e o f thi s thesis Michaelangel o painte d hi s Last Judgment a t ag e sixt y si x an d wa s appointe d t o b e th e architec t o f St Peter' s Basilic a a t ag e sevent y four Mone t painte d hi s grea t serie s o f th e House s o f Parliamen t a t sixt y fou r an d Rembrand t wa s creatin g brillian t sel f portrait s i n hi s fifties s o ther e i s a t leas t anecdota l evidenc e tha t ag e was no t a significan t facto r fo r severa l notabl e artists An y o f thes e force s coul d hav e contribute d t o th e deterioratio n noted bu t th e deterioratio n itsel f i s evident Frie d observe s i n Courbet's Realism tha t hi s wor k ha d becom e "relativel y undistinguishe d wel l befor e hi s establishmen t o f a worksho p fo r producin g mediocr e landscapes" 18 5 whic h occurre d i n th e 1870s Whethe r th e change s i n hi s ar t wer e du e t o politics market s o r ageing th e deterioratio n o f th e ar t itsel f i s evident Th e Action s Ther e i s onl y on e documente d cas e o f a meetin g betwee n Courbe t an d Proudho n subsequen t t o Proudhon' s releas e fro m priso n i n 1852 Tha t meetin g wa s o n th e occasio n o f Courbet' s personally mounte d expositio n G. Courbet. Exposition de quarante tableaux de ses oeuvres (1855) Thi s exhibition a commercia l an d critica l Fried Courbet's Realism, 2. 5 9

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failure presente d Proudho n wit h hi s opportunit y t o mak e hi s previousl y note d observations regardin g Courbet' s gift s a s a painte r a s wel l a s hi s notabl e ego An y othe r assertion s regardin g tim e spen t togethe r b y thes e tw o me n ar e strictl y anecdota l i n natur e an d ar e assume d t o exis t onl y b y thos e wh o presum e unrecorde d interaction s a t bohemia n haunts Di d bot h me n patroniz e th e Brasseri e Andler ? Certainly i t wa s famou s amon g th e Parisia n literat i an d bot h me n ar e name d a s regula r patron s i n th e literature. 18 7 I s i t vali d t o deduc e fro m tha t fac t tha t th e tw o me n wer e i n persona l contact ? Certainl y not Proudhon' s attention s wer e involve d elsewhere B y 186 3 Courbe t an d Proudho n wer e becomin g closer a t leas t accordin g t o 1 RR Courbet wit h respec t t o th e sens e o f collaboration i f no t intimacy a s i t wa s the n tha t Proudho n bega n wor k o n hi s posthumousl y publishe d wor k Du principe de I 'art. Thi s extensiv e philosophica l essa y ha d begu n it s lif e a s a brie f pamphle t intende d t o defen d an d explai n Courbet' s scanda l plague d Return from the Conference ( a depictio n o f al l seve n deadly sin s bein g committe d b y a troo p o f Catholi c priests) 18 9 whic h ha d bee n rejecte d b y th e Salo n o f 186 3 a t th e directio n o f th e Ministr y o f th e Interior an d wa s destine d fo r a n exhibitio n i n London Inasmuc h a s Proudho n ha d himsel f bee n jaile d b y th e governmen t fo r work s lik e What is Property?, De la Justice, an d hi s essays i n Le Representant du Peuple an d othe r anarchis t publications i t i s no t surprisin g tha t h e woul d b e willin g t o undertak e suc h a task especiall y sinc e i t wa s initiall y intende d a s a fou r pag e pamphlet Prio r t o Metropolita n Museu m o f Art Gustave Courbet, 434 Notes i on Mack Gustave Courbet, 59 18 8 Metropolita n Museu m o f Art Gustave Courbet, 436 Notes 1R Q Hyams Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Revolutionary Life, Mind and Works, 264 6 0

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1863 i n al l hi s correspondence Courbe t mention s Proudho n onl y thre e times mainl y havin g t o d o wit h hi s intende d depictio n o f th e philosophe r i n The Studio (or it s notabl y mor e cumbersom e ful l title The Painter's Studio, A True Allegory Summarizing a Period of Seven Years in my Life as an Artist). Fe w record s remai n o f Courbet' s "assassinating Proudho n wit h letters possibl y du e t o purposefu l destructio n o f them Bu t on e extan t letter tha t o f th e summe r o f 186 3 ma y stan d a s representativ e o f wha t Proudho n meant I n tha t lette r Courbe t impart s hi s pearl s o f wisdo m t o Proudho n i n th e for m o f fort y si x aphorism s concernin g al l manne r o f subjects "Th e ma n wh o spend s hi s lif e amassin g a fortun e ha s n o busines s i n th e intellectua l world...Th e son s o f (rich ) familie s hav e n o ide a ho w t o us e thei r money. .On e mus t becom e a millionaire. .Th e extrem e lov e on e ma y fee l fo r a woma n i s sickness.. Wor k require s th e dominatio n o f th e sense s an d th e preservatio n o f one' s authorit y ove r th e woman." 1 Give n som e uncertaintie s regardin g exac t dates thi s ma y wel l b e th e lette r whic h occasione d Proudhon' s outburst Proudhon' s deterioratin g healt h i n thes e fina l year s o f hi s lif e kep t th e wor k fro m bein g publishe d unti l afte r hi s death Thre e year s afte r th e deat h o f Proudhon Courbe t bega n hi s er a o f publi c politica l commentar y wit h th e publishin g o f tw o pamphlet s attackin g th e Catholi c Church Les Cures en goguette, and La Mort de Jeannot: Les Frais du culte. Thes e pamphlet s wer e mean t t o accompan y hi s painting s o f th e sam e name s durin g thei r expositio n a t Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 228-231 6 1

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th e 186 8 Ghen t Salon. 19 1 H e als o wrote bu t faile d t o publish hi s first written publi c socia l commentar y Opinions etpropos d'un citoyen d'Ornans. Th e politica l myt h tha t Courbe t create d i n 187 1 wa s a reinventio n o f himsel f i n th e for m t o whic h h e aspired : dedicate d socialist, ma n o f action ma n o f th e people I n hi s profession defoi whic h h e publicl y announce d i n hi s ope n lette r t o th e edito r o f L a Rappel whil e campaignin g fo r politica l offic e i n th e Commune h e overstate d hi s contribution s t o th e risin g o f 1848 claimin g tha t i n 184 8 h e "hoiste d th e flag o f Realis m (and ) ...starte d a socialis t club a s oppose d t o th e club s o f th e Jacobins Montagnards an d others who m I calle d 'republican s withou t nature s o f thei r own." 19 3 "Th e republi c one indivisible an d authoritaria n wa s frightening." 19 4 Th e ter m republica n i n earl y an d mi d nineteent h centur y Franc e represente d partie s whic h espouse d a progressiv e agenda I n th e head y day s o f th e Frenc h Revolution th e Jacobin s an d Montagnard s wer e considere d t o b e left-leanin g affiliation s whic h oppose d th e Frenc h monarchy an d fought ofte n wit h extrem e violence t o creat e th e Firs t Frenc h Republic Eve n i n 1848 th e Jacobin s an d Montagnard s (th e social-democrat s o f thei r day ) oppose d th e right-leanin g Part i d'Ordr e (th e Part y o f Order) I n hi s manifest o o f 1871 Courbe t attempt s t o giv e th e impressio n tha t eve n suc h leftis t group s a s thes e wer e insufficientl y socialist insufficientl y activist insufficientl y revolutionar y t o meri t hi s participatio n wit h them Pari s o f 184 8 wa s 19 1 Ibid 341 19 2 Metropolita n Museu m o f Art Gustave Courbet, 437 Notes 1Q ^ Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 413 19 4 Ibid 41 3 6 2

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fille d wit h undergroun d societies th e Right s o f Man Th e Families th e Centra l Republica n Society th e Revolutionar y Club al l socialist som e revolutionary non e o f whic h claime d Courbe t a s a member Accordin g t o Courbe t i n 1871 th e descendent s o f th e sans-culottes o f 179 3 ha d becom e fo r Courbe t to o sof t t o meri t hi s attention Thi s i s a stron g denunciatio n o f th e republi c t o b e sure seemingl y necessar y fo r electio n t o th e Commune whic h speak s t o th e radicalis m o f th e Communards I n poin t o f fact prio r t o hi s effort s a t thi s 187 1 reinventio n o f self Courbe t ha d ver y littl e t o d o wit h th e risin g o f 1848 A s T.J Clar k discusse s i n hi s Image of the People: "No t a trac e o f activit y i n th e clubs Socialis t o r otherwise ha s com e dow n t o us ; hardl y a trac e o f politica l activit y o n th e streets." 19 5 I n '48 Courbe t wa s muc h to o concerne d wit h hi s ow n affairs a s w e hav e see n fro m hi s letters t o involv e himsel f i n radical activis t politics Tha t woul d hav e t o wai t unti l 1871 Unlik e hi s frien d Baudelaire wh o ha d fough t a t th e barricade s i n Februar y o f 184 8 a s wel l a s durin g th e blood y Jun e Days, 19 6 Courbe t wa s a non-combatan t durin g th e fightin g o f bot h 184 8 an d 1871 I n this h e mirrore d th e positio n o f hi s idol Proudhon Durin g th e sieg e o f Pari s b y th e Prussians Courbe t wa s reporte d t o hav e 1 Q 7 bee n see n "mos t frequently. .a t th e famou s taver n o f Per e Laveur accordin g t o Courbe t associat e an d medica l office r Dr Pierr e Boyer Thi s lac k o f comba t servic e Clark Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the Revolution of 1848, 47 Mack Gustave Courbet, 49 Ibid 247,248 6 3

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(o n eithe r sid e o f th e struggles ) was significan t t o th e artist s o f th e da y an d i s noted wit h example s o f eac h cours e o f action i n th e literatur e 19 8 Whil e o n th e on e hand Mane t defende d Pari s durin g th e siege Delacroix wit h respec t t o th e Frenc h Revolution fel t compelle d t o explai n t o hi s brother Genera l Charles Delacroix, tha t "i f I hav e wo n n o victorie s fo r m y countr y a t leas t I ca n pain t fo r it." 19 9 Willingnes s t o fac e th e dange r o f arme d comba t wa s eithe r a sourc e o f prid e o r o f regre t an d stilte d explanatio n fo r th e me n o f th e era Courbe t ha d alway s gon e ou t o f hi s wa y t o avoi d servin g i n th e militar y hi s entir e life A t ag e twent y one afte r bein g assigne d a lo w conscriptio n number h e contrive d t o b e foun d unfi t fo r duty I mus t tel l yo u tha t I appeare d befor e th e (military ) examinin g board o n th e mornin g o f Saturda y th e 20 th I playe d m y rol e s o wel l tha t thes e gentleme n wer e unabl e t o reac h a decisio n . 1 reall y don' t kno w ho w I wa s abl e t o stutte r lik e that fo r I di d no t sa y a singl e wor d properly. .Well now I hav e t o tel l yo u tha t I mad e fantasti c preparation s fo r it First I di d no t g o t o bed the n I ha d a bottl e o f cognac sen t u p t o m y roo m an d I dran k i t i n a punch ; I als o smoke d twent y pipe s an d dran k tw o o r thre e cup s o f coffee," 20 1 behavior s practicall y guaranteein g tha t h e woul d fai l th e examination 19 8 Observation s o n th e comba t activitie s o f numerou s intellectual s o f th e er a ca n b e foun d i n Mac k (1951) Woodcoc k (1956) an d Boim e (1995) Jea n Stewart tr. ed. Eugene Delacroix, Selected Letters 1813-1863, (Boston : MF A Publications a divisio n o f th e Museu m o f Fin e Arts 2001) 162 Her e h e wa s commentin g o n hi s famou s Liberty Leading the People. Hi s brother t o who m th e lette r i s addresse d wa s a Genera l an d Frenc h wa r hero H e was referre d fo r a secon d examinatio n an d wa s eventuall y rule d unfi t fo r militar y duty 90 1 Chu Letters of Gustave Courbet, 35 6 4

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But b y th e tim e o f th e elections t o th e Commune t o b e see n a s havin g bee n a s activ e a s possibl e i n th e revolutio n o f 184 8 wa s require d fo r aspirin g politicians whic h Courbe t no w was Hi s reinventio n appear s t o hav e succeeded h e wa s electe d t o represen t th e sixt h arrondissement 187 1 wa s th e decisiv e yea r fo r Courbe t an d hi s actions no t hi s art wer e destine d t o chang e hi s lif e i n th e mos t significan t manner 187 1 wa s th e yea r o f turmoil war revolution an d th e Commune I n 187 1 Courbe t pu t hi s pain t brus h asid e and i n emulatio n o f hi s philosopher-her o becam e completel y involve d i n revolutionar y politic s t o th e exclusio n o f al l else Writin g an d politickin g becam e th e orde r o f th e day Th e event s o f 187 0 wer e th e genesi s o f th e Commun e o f 1871 O n Jul y 19 1870 Loui s Napoleo n o f Franc e declare d wa r o n Prussi a an d withi n les s tha n tw o month s wa s captured alon g wit h hi s entir e army a t th e Battl e o f Seda n (Sept 2 1870) Quickl y actin g t o reconstitut e a government o n Septembe r 4 th th e ne w Frenc h Republi c declare d th e existenc e o f th e Governmen t o f Nationa l Defense continuin g th e wa r int o 1871 Withi n tw o day s Courbe t assume d th e firs t o f hi s politica l positions tha t o f presiden t o f th e Ar t Commission taske d wit h preservatio n o f th e grea t artwork s o f France. 20 2 I n a significan t chang e fo r th e ma n wh o woul d previousl y hav e nothin g t o d o wit h governmen t i n an y form Courbe t wa s no w a n agen t o f th e government Th e final ac t o f th e conflic t wa s th e sieg e o f Pari s whic h bega n o n Septembe r 19 1870 an d whic h ende d o n Januar y 1 187 1 whe n th e Governmen t o f Nationa l Defense represente d b y Ministe r o f Foreig n Affairs Jule s Mack Gustave Courbet, 243 6 5

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Favre sue d fo r peace T o th e peopl e o f Paris th e Governmen t o f Nationa l Defens e ha d becom e a Governmen t o f Nationa l Surrender whic h Pari s refuse d t o do I n th e nationwid e election s o f Februar y 8 187 1 th e Frenc h electorat e a s a whol e brough t t o powe r a moderat e t o conservativ e republica n regim e whic h wa s unacceptabl e t o th e Parisia n Deputies Th e Frenc h vot e a s a whol e wa s clearl y a vot e fo r peace" 20 3 accordin g t o Simpso n an d Jones bu t peac e wa s no t t o b e fo r som e time Th e peopl e o f Pari s too k t o th e street s an d Gustav e Courbe t too k t o hi s pe n an d t o hi s committees Marc h 19 187 1 sa w th e issuanc e o f th e Communard's Manifesto of the Twenty Arrondissements of Paris, whic h declare d tha t the y wer e revivin g th e "traditio n o f th e Commune s o f ol d an d o f th e Frenc h Revolution", 20 4 an d bloo d wa s soo n t o ru n i n th e street s o f Paris jus t a s i t di d i n 1793 A s i n 179 3 an d late r i n 1848 moderat e elements deserte d th e caus e quickly leavin g th e fiel d t o th e radical s a s Parisian s too k t o th e barricades Communist s an d anarchists Marxist s an d Proudhonians al l too k ai m a t th e electe d Frenc h government Muc h a s Germa n nationalist s i n th e 1930' s denounce d th e newl y organize d (pos t Kaiser ) Germa n governmen t whic h ha d surrendere d t o th e Frenc h i n th e Grea t Wa r a s th e "Novembe r Criminals" th e leftist s o f th e Commun e i n 1871 wit h equa l imprecisio n an d unfairness denounce d th e 20 3 Willia m Simpso n an d Marti n Jones Europe 1783-1914, 2n d Ed (London/Ne w York : Routledge 2009) 328 20 4 Ibid 341 6 6

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Frenc h governmen t whic h surrendere d t o th e Prussian s a s th e "Governmen t o f Nationa l Defection." 20 5 Fo r Courbet th e Commun e wa s hi s opportunit y t o issu e publi c statements participat e i n bureaucrati c commission s an d ru n fo r politica l office al l o f whic h h e too k t o eagerly A s oppose d t o hi s inactio n i n 1848 whe n h e foun d "nothin g emptier tha n politics no w politic s was t o becom e hi s metier. Th e "Bonapartis t cut throats" 20 6 no w mle d France an d i t was th e dut y o f th e diligen t revolutionar y t o tak e the m t o task H e bega n hi s politicall y significan t publi c correspondenc e jus t prio r t o th e outbrea k o f th e war an d i t wa s th e letter s tha t h e wrot e prio r t o th e existenc e o f th e Commun e tha t helpe d t o convic t hi m o f hi s action s durin g tha t late r period Finall y havin g bee n offere d th e Legio n o f Hono r afte r man y year s o f denia l b y th e government Courbe t too k th e opportunit y o n Jun e 2 3 o f 187 0 t o publicl y renounc e th e hono r an d denounc e th e governmen t whic h offere d i t t o him Takin g th e governmen t t o tas k i n hi s ope n lette r o f renunciation Courbe t declare d tha t hi s "opinion s a s a citize n d o not allo w m e t o accep t a titl e tha t derive s essentiall y fro m a monarchi c order..M y artist' s feelin g als o goe s agains t m y acceptin g a n awar d tha t i s Ma x Eastman ed. Capital, The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings by Karl Marx (Ne w York : Th e Moder n Library 1959) 382 r l Marx The Civil War in France (1871 ) Thi s tex t o f The Civil War in France (1871 ) wa s writte n b y Mar x an d rea d b y hi m t o th e Genera l Counci l o f th e Internationa l Workin g Men' s Associatio n o n Ma y 30 1871 Eastman Capital, The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings by Karl Marx, 383 6 7

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grante d t o m e a t th e han d o f th e state, a trul y Proudhonia n remark Thi s lette r mark s th e onse t o f hi s publi c politica l posturin g o f th e 1870's B y th e tim e o f th e sieg e o f Pari s an d th e initiatio n o f th e Governmen t o f Nationa l Defense Courbe t wrot e th e lette r whic h wa s t o doo m hi m i n th e eye s o f th e governmen t upo n th e suppressio n o f th e Commune O n Septembe r 14 187 0 Courbe t firs t publicl y demande d th e destmctio n o f th e Vendom e Column th e ac t whic h wa s t o resul t i n hi s tria l an d imprisonment Th e lette r becam e th e subjec t o f muc h lega l wranglin g durin g hi s trial a t whic h h e claime d t o hav e no t been technically involve d i n th e destmction H e wrot e t o th e Governmen t o f Nationa l Defens e unde r th e aegi s o f hi s positio n a s th e presiden t o f th e Parisia n Artist s Committee I n i t h e declare d tha t th e Vendom e Colum n wa s ". . a monumen t devoi d o f an y artisti c value tendin g b y it s characte r t o perpetuat e th e ideas o f war s an d conquest s [and tha t h e shoul d be ] authoriz e [d ] t o unbol t tha t column o r t o tak e itsel f [th e government ] th e initiativ e thereto." 20 8 Thi s lette r wa s t o b e hi s undoing H e followe d u p hi s reques t wit h anothe r lette r t o th e governmen t o n Octobe r 5 187 0 i n whic h h e describe d th e colum n a s bein g "a s ou t o f plac e a s a howitze r i n a lady' s drawin g room," 20 9 a commendabl e remar k fro m a ma n wh o wa s muc h mor e articulat e a s a painte r tha n a s a writer H e eve n admitte d t o hi s wis h fo r th e column' s destructio n i n correspondenc e t o hi s father whe n h e tol d th e famil y tha t I wante d t o hav e th e Vendom e Colum n demolished I coul d no t ge t th e governmen t t o gran t it Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 378 Ibid 388 6 8

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91 0 thoug h th e peopl e wer e fo r it. Althoug h th e electe d governmen t o f Franc e woul d no t acced e t o th e demand th e organizer s o f th e Commun e wer e happ y t o oblige Durin g th e lon g day s o f th e sieg e o f Pari s Courbe t produce d a publi c lette r t o th e Prussia n arm y an d t o th e artist s o f Germany i n whic h h e espouse d th e socialis t perspectiv e o f a n en d t o al l nationalism dissolutio n o f th e borde r betwee n Franc e an d German y an d th e creatio n o f a replacemen t fo r th e Vendom e Colum n i n th e for m o f a monumenta l column compose d o f th e melte d dow n remain s o f bot h party' s cannons Hi s new borderles s Europ e woul d b e create d whe n togethe r the y woul d "thro w dow n th e bleedin g boundar y stones...tha t severe d group s o f peopl e o f th e sam e stock. 2 U Nin e day s afte r th e officia l proclamatio n o f th e Commun e o n Marc h 28 th Courbe t wrot e hi s famou s ope n lette r t o th e artist s o f Paris "W e ar e avenged Pari s ha s save d Franc e fro m dishono r an d humiliation. .Toda y Pari s i s fre e an d it s ow n maste r whil e th e province s ar e i n bondage. .Th e cmeles t Prussians thos e wh o exploite d th e poor 91 9 wer e a t Versailles. I n thi s letter publishe d i n th e Journal officiel de la Commune, th e lette r i n whic h h e referre d t o Proudho n a s th e "Christ o f th e revolution Courbe t too k th e ste p o f equatin g th e electe d nationa l governmen t o f Franc e wit h th e Prussia n oppressors th e victor s i n th e recen t wa r wh o ha d besiege d Paris Ther e wa s considerabl e controvers y a t th e tim e wit h respec t t o th e legitimac y o f tha t government O n Februar y 8 t h 187 1 nationwid e election s wer e hel d i n orde r t o selec t a governmen t whic h woul d b e i n a positio n t o eithe r accep t o r rejec t th e Frenc h 21 0 Ibid 405 21 1 Ibid 399 21 2 Ibid 408 6 9

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surrende r t o th e Prussians Accordin g t o historia n Alistai r Home Parisian s believe d themselve s t o hav e bee n effectivel y disenfranchised a t leas t insofa r a s no t havin g bee n give n th e frees t choic e o f candidates du e t o th e natur e o f th e electio n mles Th e 9 1 ^ Frenc h electio n rales a t th e tim e wer e base d o n th e 1849 Secon d Republi c rules Thes e electora l regulation s allowe d fo r universa l suffrage bu t mandate d votin g methodolog y i n th e precinct s o f Pari s whic h th e lef t foun d objectionable Th e fort y thre e seat s allocate d t o Pari s wer e al l at-larg e seats no t allocate d b y arrondissement keepin g th e Parisian s fro m votin g int o offic e al l o f thei r favorit e leaders Yet th e nationwid e election s wer e relativel y fre e o f compulsio n despit e th e fac t tha t electioneerin g itsel f wa s banne d i n certai n department s occupie d b y th e Prussians I n Pari s itself vigorou s electioneerin g too k plac e fo r eigh t day s wit h wha t Hom e characterize s a s "grea t hea t an d confusion...wit h a n impressiv e multiplicit y o f programs. 1 4 Th e resul t o f tha t electio n wa s a n "overwhelmin g victory" 21 5 fo r th e mor e conservative mra l provinces whic h was a s previousl y noted a "vot e fo r peace. Accordin g t o historia n Rober t Tombs th e Franco-Prussia n wa r ha d greatl y exacerbate d th e long-standin g divisio n betwee n th e urba n center s an d th e rura l area s o f France. 21 7 Th e delegate s a t th e Nationa l Assembl y vote d 54 6 t o 10 7 fo r th e resultin g government i n whic h Adolph e Thier s wa s name d a s Chie f o f th e Executiv e 2 1 Alistai r Home The Fall of Paris: the Siege and the Commune 1870-71 (London : Pengui n Books 2007) 254 Home The Fall of Paris: The Siege and the Commune 1870-71, 254 21 5 Ibid 254 21 6 Simpso n an d Jones Europe 1783-1914, pg 328 21 7 Rober t Tombs The Paris Commune 1871 (Ne w York : Pearso n Education 1999) 62 7 0

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Power I n thi s vote 3 7 o f th e 4 3 Parisia n deputie s vote d o n th e losin g side an d si x o f the m resigne d i n protest Ther e resulte d a serie s o f action s whic h compounde d th e disenchantmen t o f th e Parisians Thes e move s consiste d o f over t change s i n th e law a decisio n o n th e ne w locatio n o f th e Nationa l Assembly an d a significan t inactio n o n th e par t o f th e Thier s government Th e Nationa l Assembl y first proceede d t o vot e ne w law s imposin g ex 9 1 8 post facto deat h sentences suppressio n o f leftis t journals disbandin g an d endin g th e pa y o f th e Nationa l Guard an d orderin g th e repaymen t o f debt s ove r th e nex t thre e months, 21 9 whic h essentiall y woul d reduc e muc h o f th e populatio n t o penury. 22 0 I n additio n t o th e ne w ordnances th e governmen t move d fro m Bordeau x t o Versaille s o n Marc h 20 th rathe r tha n t o Paris considere d t o b e a n insul t b y th e Parisians Hom e offer s th e observatio n that considerin g th e "inflamed an d "disordered stat e o f 99 1 affair s i n Paris th e mov e t o Versaille s ma y hav e bee n pmdent Rober t Tomb s note s severa l circumstance s tha t possibl y contribute d t o tha t decision O n Februar y 24 t h a policema n was caugh t b y Parisians "beaten throw n int o th e Sein e an d pushe d unde r wit h boathook s unti l h e drowned." 22 2 O n Marc h 18 t h th e attemp t b y th e Thiers governmen t t o secur e th e cannon s o n Montmartr e resulte d i n violenc e whic h culminate d i n th e execution s o f general s Lecomt e an d Thomas 2 3 Overall severa l o f 21 8 Afte r th e establishmen t o f th e Commune th e Communard s i n tur n suppresse d th e righ t win g paper s Le Figaro an d Le Gaulois. Home 304 91 Q Tomb s suggest s tha t th e Parisians simila r t o som e late r historians misunderstoo d th e debt s t o b e repai d immediately contributin g t o thei r ire. Home The Fall of Paris: The Siege and the Commune 1870-71, 260 22 1 Ibid 261 99 9 Tombs The Paris Commune 1871, 64 22 3 Ibid 1 7 1

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th e part s o f th e cit y becam e "no-g o areas fro m whic h polic e an d regula r troop s ha d t o b e withdrawn." 22 4 Perhap s th e mos t significan t decisio n b y th e Thier s governmen t wa s th e previousl y mentione d inaction Th e vot e o f Marc h 26 wa s ver y specificall y no t endorse d b y th e Nationa l Assembly resultin g i n a boycot t b y man y o f th e mor e moderat e voter s an d additiona l ange r amon g th e Parisian s wh o vote d fo r th e Commune. 22 5 Althoug h thi s decisio n ma y hav e bee n a poo r on e an d contribute d greatl y t o th e ensuin g violence lik e th e choic e t o mov e t o Versailles i t ha d som e measur e o f rationalit y behin d it O n Marc h 3 r d th e Centra l Committe e o f th e Nationa l Guar d ha d a n "influ x o f revolutionar y socialists, on e o f whom name d Varlin claime d tha t "i n tw o o r thre e week s th e cit y wil l b e controlle d b y socialis t battalio n commanders. .Anothe r wee k an d w e shal l b e masters o f 1 7 arrondissements (sic ) ou t o f 20...th e thre e other s wil l d o nothin g t o sto p us The n w e shal l chas e th e prefectur e o f polic e ou t o f Paris overthro w th e government an d Franc e wil l follo w us. 22 6 I t i s difficul t t o ascertai n ho w muc h o f tha t statemen t wa s factua l an d ho w muc h wa s theatricality However th e fac t tha t assertion s suc h a s tha t wer e bein g mad e indicate s tha t Theirs decisio n ha d som e basi s i n reason Thes e consideration s regardin g th e election th e vot e fo r peace th e ne w law s an d th e onerou s choice s b y th e Their s governmen t contribute d t o th e fac t tha t t o Courbe t an d hi s fello w Communards thei r ow n nationa l governmen t wa s th e oppressor a s muc h a s th e Prussians 22 4 Ibid 64 22 5 Ibid 69 22 6 Ibid 65 7 2

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T o pu t Courbet' s perspectiv e int o contex t w e ma y as k wha t position s wer e take n b y othe r Frenc h intellectual s toward s th e Commune ? Accordin g t o Henriett a Psichar i i n he r revie w o f th e action s o f Frenc h intellectuals th e revol t o f th e Communard s wa s viewe d wit h disdai n b y man y o f them Flauber t considere d thei r action s t o b e "stupi d convulsion s fro m a destructiv e mob." 22 7 I n respons e t o th e Commune' s action s t o eliminat e th e paymen t o f rent s h e wrot e t o Georg e San d tha t "no w governmen t meddle s i n Natura l La w an d interfere s i n contract s betwee n individuals...I t seem s t o 99 8 m e tha t w e hav e neve r sun k lower Simila r feeling s wer e expresse d b y Georg e San d an d Edmon d d e Goncourt Georg e San d remarke d tha t "w e ar e threatene d her e b y bandit s an d stealth y peopl e wh o ar e mor e t o b e feare d tha n th e Germa n 99 Q soldiers. Fo r Tain e an d Renan th e "les s inventiv e an d creativ e bu t infinitel y brain y contemporarie s o f Flauber t an d Baudelaire," 23 0 thei r prio r politica l antipath y wa s replace d b y a regre t a t th e fal l o f th e Empire." 23 1 No t al l intellectual s share d th e feeling s o f Courbe t an d hi s fello w Communards Th e perio d o f th e Commun e wa s marke d b y violenc e o n bot h side s o f th e barricades neithe r Communard s no r Versailles e (th e nomenclatur e fo r th e electe d Frenc h nationa l government) 23 2 bein g advers e t o indiscriminat e killing Unlik e mode m asymmetrica l warfare i n whic h on e sid e ha s notabl e militar y superiorit y ove r 22 7 Henriett a Psichari "Frenc h Writer s an d th e Commune, The Massachusetts Review 12 no 3 (Summe r 1971) : 537 99 8 Ruper t Christiansen Paris Babylon: The Story of the Paris Commune (Ne w York : Pengui n Books 1996) 300 22 9 Ibid 536 23 0 W.M Frobock "Traum a an d Recoil : Th e Intellectuals, The Massachusetts Review 12 no 3 (Summe r 1971) : 528 23 1 Ibid 529 23 2 Thi s nomenclatur e i s du e t o th e fac t tha t th e Frenc h governmen t move d itsel f t o Versailles considere d b y Parisian s t o b e a n affront 7 3

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th e other bot h Communard s an d Versailles e use d cannon s an d th e earl y predecesso r o f th e machine-gun th e mitrailleuse, 233 t o grea t effect Th e violenc e commence d o n th e nigh t o f Marc h 17 1871 whe n th e governmen t a t Versaille s attempte d t o confiscat e th e artiller y o n Montmartr e whic h wa s i n th e possessio n o f th e Nationa l Guard. 23 4 Element s o f th e governmen t arm y mutinied refusin g t o obe y th e command s o f thei r officers an d executin g general s Lecomt e an d Thomas Th e fighting i n th e street s wa s t o continu e unti l La Semaine Sanglante (Blood y Week) ultimatel y terminatin g o n Ma y 28 th Th e fina l day s o f th e violenc e endin g wit h th e Communard s executin g thei r hostages includin g Archbisho p Darboy th e Archbisho p o f Paris an d torchin g th e Tuileries a s the y retreate d fro m th e oncomin g governmen t troops Reprisal s followed wit h trials executions an d deportation s o f capture d Communards Jus t tw o week s prio r t o La Semaine Sanglante, th e Commun e ordere d th e destructio n o f th e Vendom e Column th e ac t whic h woul d ultimatel y resul t i n Courbet' s incarceration Hi s participation despit e hi s late r denial s a t hi s trial wa s clear I t wa s reporte d i n th e Journal Offtciel o f th e Commun e tha t o n Apri l 27 1 "Citize n Courbe t demande d tha t th e decre e o f th e Commun e wit h respec t t o th e demolitio n o f th e Vendom e Colum n b e put int o effect." 23 5 Yet i t i s als o clea r tha t A n earl y versio n o f th e machine-gun o f roughl y th e sam e er a a s th e mor e famou s Gatlin g Gun bu t operate d withou t th e nee d fo r rotatin g barrels I t wa s a devastatin g anti-personne l weapo n i n clos e quarters 23 4 Mack Gustave Courbet, 252 23 5 Ibid 267 7 4

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Courbe t was no t a signator y o f th e orde r o f destmction I n a n articl e safel y writte n si x day s afte r Courbet' s death whe n i t coul d d o hi m n o furthe r harm fello w Communar d Jule s Valles writin g unde r th e pseudony m Jea n d e l a Ru e whil e i n exil e i n England sai d tha t "Th e da y tha t th e colum n was toppled h e wa s there a t th e Place, wit h hi s twenty-so u cane hi s four-fran c stra w hat hi s ready-mad e overcoat.. 'It'l l crus h m e whe n i t falls you'l l see! h e said turnin g t o a grou p o f friends. B y Jun e 7 t h Courbe t wa s arreste d whil e hidin g a t a friend' s apartmen t an d brough t t o tria l befor e th e Thir d Counci l o f War convicted an d sen t t o Saint e Pelagi e prison I n a largel y ineffectiv e defense hi s lawye r Lachau d coul d offe r n o mor e compellin g reaso n fo r exoneratio n tha n t o tel l th e jur y tha t "h e i s a bi g chil d wh o i s incapabl e o f puttin g togethe r tw o politica l ideas," 23 8 a characterizatio n whic h woul d follo w Courbe t fo r th e res t o f hi s lif e an d whic h ha d som e degre e o f merit despit e it s failur e t o fre e him Courbe t ha d accomplishe d muc h b y thi s time s o i n context hi s lawyer' s remar k seem s t o b e patronizing Compare d t o th e deat h sentence s an d deportation s t o Ne w Caledoni a i n th e Sout h Pacifi c whic h hi s compatriot s suffered Courbe t wa s sentence d t o th e relativel y shor t priso n ter m o f si x months th e las t tw o o f whic h h e serve d i n th e hospita l du e t o a bout wit h hemorrhoids Jac k Lindsay Gustave Courbet: His Life and Art (London : Jupite r Books 1977) 261 23 7 Lind a Nochlin "Th e De-Politicizatio n o f Gustav e Courbet : Transformatio n an d Rehabilitatio n unde r th e Thir d Republic, October 2 2 (Autum n 1982) : 76 23 8 Tin g Chang "Rewritin g Courbet : Silvestre Courbet an d th e Bruya s Collectio n afte r th e Pari s Commune, Oxford Art Journal 21 no 1 (1998) : 108 7 5

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I n hi s rehabilitativ e defens e o f Courbet A Plea for a Dead Friend, publishe d i n 188 2 wel l afte r Courbet' s death hi s eve r faithfu l frien d Jule s Castagnary mad e th e clai m tha t th e monument whic h was (accordin g t o Castagnary ) mor e Napoleoni c tha n Frenc h National was destroye d o n th e order s o f a governmen t whic h give s order s 9^ Q an d find s th e agent s t o carr y the m out, a disingenuou s remar k a t best Castagnar y attribute s th e destructio n t o wha t h e perceive s t o b e th e legitimat e action s o f a legitimat e government Th e Commun e wa s nothin g o f th e sort I t wa s a revolutionar y construc t whic h was agains t th e wishe s o f th e vas t majorit y o f th e peopl e o f Franc e wh o ha d spoke n clearl y i n th e elections o f Februar y o f 1871 Th e disingenuousnes s o f th e observatio n i s n o les s tha n tha t exhibite d b y Courbe t i n hi s defens e a t tria l whe n h e observe d tha t th e orde r fo r th e destructio n o f th e colum n was issue d o n Apri l 12 1871 an d h e wa s not formall y electe d t o th e bod y unti l fou r day s later A n assertio n whic h woul d hav e th e jur y ignor e th e fac t tha t h e ha d bee n publicl y callin g fo r th e destructio n t o b e carrie d ou t sinc e Septembe r 14 1870 I n hi s journa l entr y o f Septembe r 18 187 0 Edmon d d e Goncour t recorde d tha t "i n a publi c meetin g th e painte r Courbe t advocate d th e destructio n o f th e column. 4 B y April o f 187 1 event s ha d simpl y provide d hi m wit h th e politica l entit y require d t o hav e hi s wishe s carrie d out Subsequen t t o hi s conviction publi c opinio n i n literar y circles eve n amon g hi s clos e associates change d regardin g Courbet Alexandr e Duma s fils indicate d seriou s 23 9 Ald a Canno n an d Fran k Anderso n Trapp "Castagnary' s A Ple a fo r a Dea d Friend Gustav e Courbe t an d th e Destmctio n o f th e Vendom e Column, The Massachusetts Review 12 no 3 (Summer 1971) : 503 Christiansen Paris Babylon: The Story of the Paris Commune), 186 7 6

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contemp t fo r th e painte r i n hi s 187 1 remarks "Wha t mythologica l couplin g betwee n a slu g an d a peacock wha t geneti c antithesis wha t sebaceou s oozing fo r example coul d hav e produce d thi s thin g tha t on e call s Monsieu r Gustav e Courbet?" 24 1 No t t o b e outdon e i n th e condemnatio n o f th e Communards Flaubert hi s on e tim e associate wrot e t o Georg e San d tha t "w e shoul d hav e sen t th e entir e Commun e t o th e galley s an d force d thes e blood y imbecile s t o clea n u p th e rains o f Paris." 24 2 Theophil e Silvestre th e ar t critic i n a lette r t o Alfre d Bruyas Courbet' s greates t lon g tim e patron tol d Bruya s tha t Courbe t wa s a "parricidal flatulent, bestial fat 94 ^ vulgar...walkin g bee r barrel. . a Communis t Falstaff. An d finall y Manet th e onl y on e o f th e literat i wh o attende d th e tria l i n person wrot e t o Theodor e Dure t tha t "H e behave d lik e a cowar d i n fron t o f th e Tribuna l an d i s n o longe r worth y o f an y interest. 4 4 Courbet' s large r tha n lif e person a an d significan t bod y o f wor k n o longe r dazzle d eve n hi s clos e friend s an d fello w artists Thes e literar y daggers howeve r muc h the y ma y hav e stun g Courbet' s immens e ego coul d no t matc h th e damag e t o Courbe t cause d b y Jean-Louis-Ernes t Meissonier hea d o f th e jur y fo r th e 187 2 Salon wh o totall y banishe d hi m fro m th e Salon claimin g tha t "w e mus t rejec t M Courbe t fro m ou r midst ; fo r u s h e mus t b e considere d dead, whic h amounte d t o th e requie m fo r th e painter' s caree r a s a seriou s artist H e woul d neve r agai n participat e i n th e grea t Frenc h Salon Courbet 24 1 Change "Rewritin g Courbet : Silvestre Courbet an d th e Bruya s Collectio n afte r th e Pari s Commune, 109 Her e Chan g cite s Alexandr e Duma s (fils ) Une lettre sur les choses dujour (Pari s 1871) 94 9 Ibid 109 Chan g cite s Gustav e Flauber t Correspondence. 24 3 Ibid 111 Chan g cite s Theophil e Silvestre lette r t o Alfre d Bruyas 24 4 Ibid 109 Chan g cite s Eduar d Mane t lette r t o Theodor e Duret Augus t 22 1871 24 5 Ibid 110 Chan g cite s Jean-Louis-Ernes t Meissonie r Le Figaro (Apri l 10 1872) 7 7

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i n hi s desir e t o emulat e th e persona l politica l activis m o f Proudho n ha d inextricabl y associate d hi s ar t wit h hi s politic s fo r th e las t time an d no w h e woul d foreve r liv e wit h th e consequence s o f tha t act I t coul d b e argue d tha t Courbet' s leftis t position s wer e mor e th e sourc e o f hi s problem s tha n th e mer e fac t o f takin g politica l position s i n general Othe r artist s too k stron g politica l position s an d fare d muc h bette r a t th e hand s o f th e governmen t an d th e viewin g public Meissonier wh o wa s sufficientl y powerfu l t o ba n Courbe t fro m th e Salon supporte d th e force s o f orde r i n bot h 184 8 an d 1871 Durin g th e revolutio n o f 184 8 Meissonie r wa s a captai n o f artiller y i n th e Nationa l Guard defendin g th e Hote l d e Vill e agains t attac k b y wha t h e referre d t o a s th e "insurrection." 24 6 I t wa s tha t experienc e whic h cause d hi m t o creat e La Barricade (Fig 2) hi s depictio n o f deat h i n th e streets Th e painting als o know n a s Souvenir de guerre civile, show s wha t ar t historia n Constanc e Cai n Hungerfor d refer s t o a s "th e gri m outcom e o f resistanc e t o establishe d orde r a s a fearfu l reminde r t o thos e wh o migh t contemplat e suc h action s i n th e future." 24 7 Meissonier' s pro-government anti-insurgenc y perspectiv e continue d wel l int o hi s late r life resultin g i n hi s creatio n o f a substantia l bod y o f militar y theme d works particularl y representin g th e triumph s o f Napoleon Thi s conservativ e politica l 94 8 positio n espouse d b y Meissonie r wa s "hardl y uniqu e t o th e period accordin g t o Alber t Boime wh o consider s th e depiction s i n pain t an d photograph y o f th e 24 6 Constanc e Cai n Hungerford "Meissonier' s Souveni r d e l a guerr e civile, The Art Bulletin 61, no 2 (June 1979) : 282 24 7 Ibid 284 2 4 Alber t Boime Art and the French Commune: Imagining Paris After War and Revolution (Princeton : Princeto n Universit y Press 1995) 62 7 8

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destroye d Tuilerie s t o b e a "warnin g agains t futur e revolution. 4 H e observe s tha t "wit h fe w exceptions th e painters thei r patrons an d thei r contemporar y apologist s OC A belonge d t o th e moderat e republica n faction. Th e lis t o f artist s wh o too k th e mor e conservativ e perspectiv e include s Dega s an d Renoir wh o serve d i n th e Frenc h arm y agains t th e Prussian s an d acquire d importan t patron s fo r hi s late r work Boim e furthe r argue s tha t th e defea t o f th e Commune th e victor y o f th e force s o f order an d th e suppor t b y Dega s an d Renoir 25 1 fo r thos e forces wa s significan t i n th e genesi s o f th e Impressionis t movement H e suggest s tha t "th e killing s an d th e deportations th e immens e tol l o f huma n suffering le d thes e an d othe r impressionist s t o commi t 9S 9 themselve s t o "th e erasin g o f it s memory. Thi s i s no t t o sa y tha t th e Impressionis t movemen t wa s compose d entirel y o f th e mor e politicall y conservativ e artists Mone t an d Pissarr o wer e bot h sympatheti c t o Courbe t an d th e Communards However i t i s arguable a s articulate d b y Boime tha t th e overal l perspectiv e o f th e artist s o f Franc e i n th e wak e o f th e destructio n wa s tha t o f a retur n t o normalc y an d a n eradicatio n o f th e physica l memor y o f th e Commune "Thi s wa s th e mandat e t o th e Impressionist s durin g a perio d o f conservativ e politica l backlash Impressionis m retrace s th e damage d site s o f th e Commune urba n intersections parks an d streets an d represent s the m a s bright flourishing spaces. 25 3 24 9 Ibid 6 4 25 0 Ibid 12 13 25 1 Als o accordin g t o Boime Renoi r wa s a t on e poin t nearl y sho t b y th e Communard s a s a suspecte d spy Boime 51 25 2 Ibid 51 25 3 Ibid 45 7 9

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Courbe t wa s no t politicall y representative o f th e majorit y o f Frenc h artist s an d intellectual s o f th e time Althoug h som e o f the m too k politica l positions the y wer e relativel y mil d i n compariso n t o thos e o f Courbet Courbe t wa s uniqu e amon g significan t Frenc h artist s i n hi s leve l o f politica l activis m a s evidence d b y hi s activ e participatio n i n th e Commun e an d hi s insistenc e o n th e destructio n o f th e column Onl y Pissarr o exhibite d simila r feeling s but h e sa t ou t th e Franco-Prussia n Wa r an d th e tim e o f th e Commun e i n London a s di d Monet Ruper t Christianse n i n hi s 9S S histor y o f th e Commun e suggest s tha t th e perspectiv e "La w agains t Crime, wa s hel d b y mos t Frenc h intellectuals A s Flauber t pu t it ; "A s fo r th e Commune whic h i s i n it s deat h throes it' s th e lates t manifestatio n o f th e Middl e Ages Wil l i t b e th e last ? Let' s hop e so! Edmon d d e Goncour t offere d tha t th e Parisian s wer e "th e mos t 9S 7 abominabl e mora l coward s tha t I hav e eve r known. However th e intellectua l voice s wer e not universa l i n thei r condemnation Victo r Hugo arguabl y th e mos t significan t Frenc h intellectua l t o sympathiz e wit h th e Communards helpe d t o inspir e th e Parisians Yet h e chos e no t t o g o s o fa r a s t o actuall y joi n them relocatin g t o Bmssel s fo r th e duration. 25 8 Thes e decision s regardin g suppor t o r criticis m o f th e Commun e wer e t o pla y ou t t o th e assistanc e o r injur y o f th e variou s writer s an d artists Th e mor e conservativ e wen t o n t o continu e wit h successfu l careers Th e nin e contemporar y Frenc h artist s considere d b y Boim e t o b e th e initia l cor e o f Impressionis m al l too k th e opportunit y afte r th e fal l o f th e 25 4 Ibid 50 Christiansen Paris Babylon: the Story of the Paris Commune, 307 25 6 Ibid 330 25 7 Ibid 335 Home The Fall of Paris: The Siege and the Commune 1870-71, 291. 8 0

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Commun e t o cour t favo r wit h th e nationa l governmen t an d t o "seiz e (d ) th e momen t t o establis h thei r careers." 25 9 Courbe t wa s no t i n a positio n t o d o so H e wa s a victi m o f havin g chose n th e losin g side O n Ma y 30 1873 tw o year s afte r th e excesse s o f th e Commune th e Frenc h Assembl y passe d a bil l authorizin g th e restoratio n o f th e column th e bil l t o b e sen t t o Courbet, 26 0 a mov e whic h h e fough t i n cour t fo r fou r years Fina l judgmen t wa s rendere d b y th e cour t o n Ma y 4 1877 chargin g Courbe t t o pa y 32 3 thousan d francs a n impossibl e sum A rulin g forcin g confiscatio n o f hi s propert y followe d o n Jun e 19 l I n thi s atmospher e o f unrelentin g criticism an d fearin g furthe r imprisonment Courbe t fle d t o Switzerland, crossin g th e borde r b y wa y o f Fleurie r an d settlin g i n L a Tour-de-Peilz a t a rente d lakeshor e hom e calle d Bon Port. Thes e final day s i n Switzerland witnesse d Courbet' s deterioration bot h physicall y an d artistically hi s waistlin e havin g grow n t o a n astonishin g sixt y inches. 26 1 Accordin g t o Mac k "h e ha d bee n a fairl y heav y drinke r o f bee r an d win e al l hi s life bu t neve r befor e ha d th e compulsio n t o drin k bee n irresistible." 26 2 Hi s evening s wer e spen t i n grea t bout s o f drinking th e effect s o f whic h h e slep t of f th e nex t da y i n lie u o f painting 9S Q Ibid 8 Thos e nin e contemporar y artists pe r Home wer e Manet Degas Pissarro Monet Renoir Sisley Bazille Cezanne an d Morisot 26 0 Ibid 314 26 1 Ibid 356 26 2 Ibid 325 8 1

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Fig 9 : Jule s Gremau d photo 187 6 I t wa s ba d enoug h tha t h e ha d spen t year s generatin g redundan t canvase s o f dubiou s distinction no w h e di d no t eve n pain t the m himself I n a n ac t whic h h e woul d hav e abhorre d i n hi s socialis t glor y days h e hire d thre e assistants allowin g the m t o pain t work s whic h woul d b e sol d a s "Courbets" An d thi s wa s no t jus t th e long-tim e practic e o f allowin g assistant s t o pain t certai n figure s o r insignifican t portion s o f backgroun d a s ha d bee n traditiona l i n "schools o f paintin g fo r centuries Accordin g t o Mack "h e wa s willin g t o pal m of f o n unsuspectin g purchasers work s t o whic h h e ha d onl y adde d a fe w daub s o f paint o r perhaps onl y signed H e tol d hi s sister s Juliett e an d Zeli e i n Apri l o f '7 3 tha t I pa y the m (hi s assistants ) a percentag e o n th e painting s the y prepar e fo r me," 26 4 addin g i n a n interestingl y 26 3 Ibid 312 Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 496 8 2

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capitalis t asid e tha t "th e Commun e woul d hav e m e b e a millionaire. A n interes t whic h i s no t surprisin g whe n on e consider s tha t h e ha d bee n investin g o n th e Bours e sinc e 1856. 26 5 I t woul d see m that althoug h h e ha d entere d int o th e activitie s o f th e Commun e fo r th e mos t altruisti c an d politica l o f motives h e claime d tha t th e effec t o n th e marketabilit y o f hi s late r wor k wa s substantiall y positive a s h e wrot e t o Castagnary ; "ha d I becom e a membe r o f th e Commun e fo r th e expres s purpose I woul d neve r hav e bee n s o successful." 26 6 Thi s remark lik e s o muc h o f Courbet' s writings mus t b e take n wit h som e measur e o f skepticis m a s h e wa s i n significan t financial difficult y u p t o th e en d o f hi s lif e an d ther e i s n o recor d o f an y substantia l sum s earne d eithe r throug h hi s ow n effort s o f thos e o f hi s surrogates I n hi s final years Courbe t himsel f wa s t o realiz e th e amoun t o f tim e h e wa s spendin g o n a n inferio r genre tellin g Castagnary : "W e hav e don e man y landscapes on e canno t d o anythin g els e i n Switzerland. 26 7 Ch u observe d tha t durin g th e final year s o f life Courbe t "awas h i n alcohol produce d nothin g o f rea l merit. 26 8 Th e notable an d sole exceptio n t o thi s litan y o f dismissibl e ar t bein g a wonderfu l portrai t o f hi s fathe r i n hi s ol d age whic h i s reminiscen t o f Courbet' s earl y effort s a t portraiture Somehow Courbe t manage d t o fin d th e skil l an d th e wil l t o creat e a wor k o f beaut y an d affection worth y o f th e 184 8 Salon depictin g hi s agin g fathe r a s a ma n stil l filled wit h a powerfu l dignity 26 5 Se e Mac k (1951 ) 124 an d Ch u (1992 ) 149 Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 493 Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 522 9fi 8 Chu The Most Arrogant Man in France: Gustave Courbet and the Nineteenth Century Media Culture, 17 8 3

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Fig 10 : Portrait of Regis Courbet, Gustav e Courbet 187 4 Durin g hi s tim e i n priso n an d al l th e year s thereafte r i n Switzerland Courbe t onl y painte d on e canva s representativ e o f th e Commune hi s Self Portrait in Sainte Pelagie prison I n it w e se e a ma n wh o ha s los t a grea t dea l o f weight wa s i n poo r health an d share s wit h hi s earlier portrait s no t to o muc h mor e tha n th e pip e an d th e vaguel y distan t expression Hi s onl y no d t o revolutio n i s hi s re d scarf Gustav e Courbe t die d i n sel f impose d exil e o n Decembe r 31,1877 on e da y befor e hi s first paymen t o n th e rebuildin g o f th e Vendom e Colum n wa s due Hi s siste r Zoe wh o assiste d hi m s o greatl y durin g hi s imprisonmen t an d hospitalizatio n tol d a frien d 8 4

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i n a lette r tha t h e shoul d "neve r hav e hel d publi c office neve r hav e preside d ove r a meeting neve r hav e joine d th e Commune." 26 9 Fig 11 : Self-Portrait at Sainte Pelagie, Gustav e Courbet 1871/7 2 Mack Gustave Courbet, 291 8 5

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CHAPTE R FIVE : COURBE T AN D PROUDHO N ASYMMETR Y AN D EMULATIO N "Sh e (Madam e Proudhon ) know s ho w clos e he r husban d an d I were sh e know s th e limitles s devotio n tha t I ha d fo r him" 27 0 "Th e en d o f th e nineteent h centur y ha s ther e 97 1 it s beacon whic h wil l ris e abov e th e masses eve r brighter. "Th e nineteent h centur y ha s jus t los t it s guidin g forc e an d th e ma n wh o embodie d it." 27 2 "Wise r tha n man hi s learnin g an d hi s courag e wer e withou t equal." 27 3 Gustav e Courbe t 186 5 I hav e receive d a n enormou s lette r fro m Courbet I believ e h e wen t lookin g i n th e oldes t grocer' s sho p i n Ornan s fo r th e dirtiest yellowest coarses t schoolboy' s exercis e boo k i n orde r t o writ e t o me On e woul d believ e tha t th e lette r belonge d t o th e centur y o f Gutenberg In k t o match Courbe t doe s no t writ e often but whe n h e set s himsel f t o it beware Thi s tim e h e covere d n o les s tha n fourtee n page s wit h th e dreg s o f wine." 27 4 I d o not propos e her e t o becom e th e advocat e o r sponso r o f M Courbet' s caprices." 27 5 Pierre-Josep h Proudho n 186 3 "Thes e day s I a m i n correspondenc e wit h Proudhon Togethe r w e ar e writin g a n importan t wor k tha t make s th e connectio n betwee n m y ar t an d hi s philosoph y an d betwee n hi s wor k an d mine." 27 6 Gustav e Courbe t 186 3 "Yes decidedly h e i s stupid!" 27 7 Pierre-Josep h Proudho n 186 3 97 0 Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 256 27 1 Ibid 256 27 2 Ibid 257 27 3 Ibid 25 7 7 4 Woodcock Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 258 27 5 Mack Gustave Courbet, 182 Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 227' 97 7 Rubin Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, 158 Here Rubi n cite s Pierre-Josep h Proudhon notatio n writte n o n lette r fro m Courbet Rubi n als o cite s Bonnio t Courbet en Saintonge, 310 Th e quot e ma y als o b e rea d a s referrin g t o Courbe t a s a beast" a s "bete ma y translat e i n bot h ways 8 6

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Ther e ar e thre e ke y documente d aspect s o f Courbet' s lif e whic h demonstrat e th e dramati c asymmetr y o f th e relationshi p betwee n Courbe t an d Proudhon Th e first bein g th e significantl y ne w an d differen t translatio n o f a Courbe t lette r whic h previousl y le d t o mistake n impression s o f th e mutualit y o f th e relationship Th e secon d demonstrabl e aspec t o f Courbet' s asymmetrica l relationshi p wit h Proudho n was hi s perpetuall y unsuccessfu l attempt s t o hav e Proudho n si t fo r a liv e portrait An d finally asymmetr y i s indicate d b y th e disparit y o f correspondenc e betwee n th e tw o men bot h i n volum e an d wit h respec t t o Courbet' s highl y anticipate d meeting s wit h Proudhon whic h consistentl y faile d t o occur alway s du e t o demurra l b y Proudhon neve r Courbet Additionally ther e ar e thre e ke y grouping s o f activitie s take n b y Courbe t whic h demonstrat e th e thesi s tha t Courbet i n hi s late r life emulate d Proudho n i n hi s rhetorical political an d eve n persona l actions Th e first o f thes e i s represente d b y Courbet' s chang e fro m persona l observation s mad e i n privat e letter s (som e o f whic h h e feare d eve r becomin g public ) t o manifesto s generate d fo r publi c consumption muc h lik e Proudhon' s publishe d editorials Secondly thi s emulatio n become s manifes t a t th e Antwer p Conferenc e o f 186 1 durin g whic h Courbe t first attempte d i n publi c t o explai n th e philosoph y o f Proudhon wit h debatabl e results Finally w e wil l loo k a t Courbet' s Proudhon-lik e venture s int o publi c office changin g fro m a proudl y 8 7

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97 8 independen t countr y unt o himself int o a n electe d representative an d eage r membe r o f publi c committees Th e Ne w Translatio n Th e traditiona l academi c reading o f th e relationshi p betwee n Courbe t an d Proudho n i s based t o a grea t extent o n scholarl y reading s o f Courbet' s correspondence whic h i s problematical A s note d i n th e introduction Courbet' s correspondenc e i s notabl e fo r it s braggin g an d it s egotistica l touches I a m th e proudes t an d mos t arrogan t ma n i n France." 27 9 Th e curator s o f th e Metropolita n Museu m o f Art' s exhibitio n Gustave Courbet (Feb 2 7 Ma y 18 2008 ) a s wel l a s th e editor s o f th e impressiv e accompanyin g boo k refe r t o Courbet' s correspondenc e a s a 98 0 confuse d mixtur e o f franknes s an d naivete' arroganc e an d boasting. Accordingly cautio n mus t b e exercise d a t al l time s i n th e readin g o f hi s letters However critica l thoug h w e mus t be ther e i s n o bette r sourc e fo r factua l information uncontaminate d b y late r editoria l glosses A majo r contributio n t o th e fiel d o f Courbe t correspondenc e stud y i s th e 199 2 wor k Letters of Gustave Courbet b y Petr a ten-Doesschat e Ch u whic h ha s receive d significan t scholarl y praise. 28 1 A carefu l revie w o f thi s tex t provide s th e researche r wit h a s muc h informatio n a s i s containe d i n severa l majo r collection s o f Courbet' s paper s i n France Wit h it s 57 1 Courbe t letter s an d meticulousl y detaile d supportin g 97 8 Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 115 27 9 Ibid 116 28 0 Metropolita n Museu m o f Art Gustave Courbet, 19 28 1 Metropolita n Museu m o f Ar t (2008) Bock-Weis s (1993) Faunc e (1973) Rase r (1994 ) 8 8

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notes i t provide s th e researche r wit h th e opportunit y t o no t onl y understan d Courbet' s actions but t o als o undertak e a minimu m leve l o f quantitativ e analysi s whic h i s supportiv e o f th e them e o f disparit y i n th e volum e an d natur e o f correspondenc e i n thi s chapte r an d th e them e o f th e natur e an d timin g o f th e relationshi p a s studie d i n chapter s thre e an d four Mos t significantly Chu' s tex t o f Courbet' s letters whic h allow s researcher s t o analyz e bot h qualitativel y an d quantitativel y th e bod y o f hi s correspondence provide s th e impetu s fo r th e mai n them e o f thi s entir e work whic h i s tha t th e Courbet Proudho n relationshi p ha s bee n seriousl y misrepresente d b y scholar s fo r th e bette r par t o f a century Althoug h i t i s clos e t o impossibl e t o sa y wit h certaint y tha t a particula r subjec t ha s no t bee n discusse d i n th e literatur e (du e t o th e impossibilit y o f provin g a negative ) i t i s certainl y clea r tha t th e observation s i n thi s chapte r concernin g th e significantl y ne w translatio n o f on e ke y Courbe t letter an d th e quantitativ e an d tempora l analysi s o f th e totalit y o f th e correspondenc e prio r t o th e Ch u work ha s ha d n o significan t publi c exposure A carefu l reading o f Courbe t an d Proudhon' s extan t personall y writte n materia l (primaril y Courbet' s letter s an d Proudhon' s diaries ) i s ke y t o understandin g thei r relationship A smal l differenc e i n th e readin g o f a lette r ca n mak e a notabl e differenc e i n th e scholarly interpretatio n o f th e relationship Th e mos t significan t cas e i n poin t i s Courbet' s lette r o f Januar y 24 186 5 t o Gustav e Chaudey (republica n lawye r an d clos e frien d o f bot h Courbe t an d Proudhon ) wh o wa s summaril y execute d b y th e Communard s i n 1871 I n describin g hi s anticipate d memoria l portrai t an d sculptur e o f Proudhon Courbe t i s quote d i n Mac k (1951 ) a s 8 9

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tellin g Chaude y tha t h e wante d t o represen t Proudho n "sittin g o n a benc h i n th e Boi s d e Boulogne where I used to talk with him every day (italic s added)." 28 2 I n he r later excellen t translatio n o f th e letter Ch u tell s u s tha t Courbe t wrote : I wan t t o d o hi m sittin g o n a benc h i n th e Boi s d e Boulogne just as he was, everyday, talking to people (italic s added)." 28 3 Th e 199 2 Courbe t translatio n wor k b y Ch u i s considere d b y th e Metropolita n Museu m o f Ar t t o b e "a n exemplar y edition. .th e cornerston e o f an y wor k devote d t o Courbet." 28 4 Thi s differenc e i n translatio n i s significant an d i t i s understandable Differen t translator s ca n ofte n presen t differin g interpretation s o f a passage Ther e ar e thos e wh o choos e t o translat e literally wor d fo r word an d thos e wh o choos e t o attemp t t o effectivel y translat e th e spiri t o f a phrase Addin g t o th e difficult y i s th e fac t tha t Courbet fro m th e tim e h e wa s i n school wa s notoriou s fo r hi s poo r penmanshi p an d 9p e equall y poo r spelling furthe r confusin g matters But th e fac t tha t th e differenc e i s entirel y understandabl e doe s no t diminis h it s significanc e fo r academi c inquiry particularl y whe n i t modifie s th e entir e natur e o f th e relationship I n th e origina l French th e phras e i n questio n i s "comm e i l etai t causan t ave c lu i tou s le s jours." 28 6 Th e constructio n "causan t ave c lui" rathe r tha n "converse r ave c moi, o r "parle r ave c 98 9 Mack Gustave Courbet, 196 I n thi s case Mac k quote s fro m th e Eduar d Dro z work Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Unpublished letters to Gustave Chaudey and to several Comtois, followed by some unpublished fragments of Proudhon and a letter of Gustave Courbet on the death of Proudhon fo r th e Memoirs de la Societe d'Emulation du Doubs (Besancon) serie 8 vol 5 (1910) Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet 258 28 4 Metropolita n Museu m o f Art Gustave Courbet, 15 Laurenc e de s Cars Dominiqu e d e Font-Reaulx Miche l Hilaire Gar y Tinterow 98 5 Mack Gustave Courbet, 11 98f S Chu The Most Arrogant Man in France, 192 9 0

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moi indicate s tha t th e later Chu translatio n i s appropriate I f Courbe t ha d mean t himself h e woul d likel y hav e utilize d th e traditiona l "moi. I f Mack an d b y extension th e earlier translator s o f th e lette r (1910 ) fro m whic h h e dre w hi s information wer e correct the n th e relationshi p coul d b e see n t o hav e bee n mutual consentin g an d close However th e latest bes t translatio n w e hav e tell s u s tha t fo r a hundre d year s th e natur e o f th e relationshi p ha s bee n misstated Th e origina l translatio n wa s arguabl y als o use d b y Woodcoc k i n hi s 195 6 (origina l publishin g date ) biograph y o f Proudhon I n thi s thesis w e conside r th e referenc e t o b e "arguable becaus e despit e th e lengt h (19 6 pages) detai l o f th e book an d th e fac t tha t i t i s cite d i n othe r scholarl y works 287 i t i s footnote d onl y t o th e mos t minima l exten t (les s tha n a doze n tota l i n 18 2 pages) makin g i t impossibl e t o definitivel y asses s th e accurac y o f th e work I t i s interestin g t o not e that althoug h th e curator s an d editor s o f th e Met' s 200 8 Courbe t retrospectiv e conside r Chu' s wor k t o b e th e cornerston e o f mode m scholarl y researc h o n th e subjec t o f Courbet' s correspondence sinc e the y d o no t d o a n actua l analysi s o f th e letter s themselves the y mak e n o mentio n o f th e discrepanc y i n thi s ke y translation mak e n o quantitativ e o r qualitativ e analysi s o f th e correspondence an d hol d t o th e "lon g tim e friend position Th e observatio n whic h wa s mentione d i n chapte r three mad e b y Georg e Woodcoc k i n hi s 195 6 volum e Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, contribute d t o th e mistake n assertio n tha t Courbe t an d Proudho n wer e clos e friend s i n 28 7 Bowness "Courbet' s Proudhon, 124 Here Bownes s i s disputin g Woodcock' s assertion 9 1

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a mutuall y appreciate d relationship Woodcoc k asserte d tha t "fro m 184 8 onwards Courbe t wa s a constan t companio n o f Proudhon an d painte d portrait s o f him alon e 98 8 an d e n famille Thi s informatio n ha s informe d th e dialogu e o f ar t histor y wit h respec t t o th e relationship eve n t o th e poin t wher e Nochli n refer s t o Proudho n a s 2R 9 "Courbet' s clos e friend th e anarchis t philosophe r Pierre-Josep h Proudhon But i t i s simpl y no t accurate N o rea l documentatio n exist s o f th e relationshi p a t al l prio r t o 1851 whe n the y me t i n on e o f th e salon s hel d i n th e commo n room s a t Saint e Pelagi e priso n durin g Proudhon' s incarceration, 29 0 th e arrange d celebrit y meetin g documente d i n chapte r three Althoug h Courbe t wa s a n extremel y prolifi c correspondent wit h almos t si x hundre d extan t letters ther e i s no t a singl e referenc e t o Proudho n i n an y o f the m prio r t o 1854 whe n h e mention s Proudho n fo r th e firs t time 90 1 wit h referenc e t o hi s inclusio n i n The Studio. Thi s i s a ke y are a wher e w e mus t tak e not e o f wha t i s no t said a s wel l a s wha t i s sai d b y Courbet I t i s simpl y no t credibl e t o accep t tha t Courbe t an d Proudho n wer e intimat e friend s fro m 184 8 an d tha t Courbe t faile d t o communicat e wit h hi m o r eve n mentio n i t t o anyon e fo r si x years Thi s lac k o f communicatio n eithe r to o r abou t Proudho n strike s a t th e hear t o f th e traditiona l imag e o f th e close persona l natur e o f th e relathionship Th e Sitting s Tha t Neve r Happene d Additionally th e fac t tha t Courbe t painte d Proudho n ca n creat e th e mistake n impressio n tha t th e portrait s o f Proudho n were i n som e manner evidenc e o f th e 288 Woodcock Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work, 257 28 9 Lind a Nochli n "Gustav e Courbet' s Meeting : Portrai t o f th e Artis t a s a Wanderin g Jew The Art Bulletin 49 no 3 (Sept 1967) : 210 29 0 Bowness "Courbet' s Proudhon, 124 2 x Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 132 9 2

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relationshi p bein g clos e an d personal I n actualit y Courbet eve r th e devote d bu t unappreciate d follower was neve r successfu l i n convincin g Proudho n t o eve n si t fo r a portrait Courbet' s unsuccessfu l effort s a t securin g a sittin g wit h Proudho n establis h abundan t evidenc e o f th e essentia l asymmetr y o f th e relationship Courbe t painte d Proudhon' s portrai t thre e time s (plu s a small sketched head-stud y upo n hi s death ) an d i n eac h cas e ha d n o liv e contac t wit h th e philosopher Proudho n first show s u p i n Courbet' s The Studio (L Atelier, 1855 ) wher e h e i s place d somewha t inconspicuousl y i n th e righ t sid e backgroun d (thir d figure t o th e righ t o f th e nud e model ) amon g othe r individual s who m Courbe t considere d t o b e significan t i n a positiv e manner suc h a s Brayas Promayet an d Cuenot Th e figur e o f Proudho n i s no t nearl y a s significan t a s thos e o f Champfleur y o r Baudelaire bot h o f who m ar e show n seate d i n th e righ t foreground an d bot h o f who m wer e quit e clos e t o th e artis t a t th e time Unabl e t o secur e a liv e sittin g fro m Proudho n (wherea s Champfleury Baudelair e an d Braya s al l hav e thei r figure s take n fro m previou s liv e sittin g portraits ) Courbe t wa s reduce d t o 9Q 9 copyin g a lithograp h mad e b y Charles Bazin 29 2 Ibid 134 9 3

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Fig 12 : The Studio, Gustav e Courbet 185 5 Th e othe r tw o portrait s o f Proudhon th e individua l ones wer e painte d afte r hi s deat h i n 1865 Th e documente d recor d indicate s tha t Courbe t ha d trie d strenuously but withou t success t o convinc e Proudho n t o si t fo r him Ther e ar e a t leas t fiv e Courbe t letter s whic h testif y t o thi s fact I n a famou s lette r t o Champfleur y writte n i n November/Decembe r o f 1854 i n whic h Courbe t goe s t o grea t lengt h describin g hi s wor k o n The Studio, Courbe t tell s Champfleur y I woul d ver y muc h lik e t o includ e th e philosophe r Proudhon wh o share s ou r views I woul d b e happ y i f h e wer e willin g t o pose I f yo u se e him as k hi m whethe r I ca n coun t o n him. A s i n th e readin g o f Proudhon' s Carnets regardin g th e meetin g a t Saint e Pelagie i t i s strikin g tha t Courbe t refer s t o Proudho n a s "th e philosophe r Proudhon" no t a s "m y dea r frien d Proudhon" o r eve n "ou r mutua l acquaintanc e Proudhon" bot h o f thes e bein g literar y Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 132 9 4

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construction s o f whic h Courbe t was fond Thi s descriptio n o f "th e philosophe r Proudhon i s therefor e significan t bot h fo r wha t i t say s an d fo r wha t i t doe s no t say Seve n month s later afte r thi s unsuccessfu l attempt Courbe t ask s Champfleur y o n Marc h 8 185 5 fo r "an y portrai t o f Proudhon a lithograph whatever a s lon g a s i t resemble s hi m a little." 29 5 Fig 13 : Portrait of Proudhon, Gustav e Courbet 186 5 Thi s searc h fo r a likenes s o f Proudhon undertake n b y a n artis t wh o wa s renowne d fo r hi s abilit y t o briefl y se e a scen e an d late r replicat e i t beautifull y an d accuratel y i n hi s studio doe s nothin g t o indicat e an y significan t familiarit y b y Courbe t wit h A reading o f Courbet' s extan t correspondenc e find s hi m usin g thes e phrase s bot h i n th e addresse s an d th e bod y o f hi s letter s wit h regularity Chu (1992 ) ltr 53-6, "dea r friend, "m y goo d friend, "m y dea r friend, "you r dea r friend" al l wit h referenc e t o Bruya s i n a singl e letter 5 Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 137 9 5

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Proudhon' s visage Hardl y th e typ e o f proble m tha t Courbe t woul d hav e experience d wit h long-time constan t contact B y 1863 Courbe t ha d stil l no t convince d Proudho n t o si t fo r him Seemingl y givin g u p o n th e ide a o f a liv e sitting h e wrot e t o hi m o n Ma y 25 186 3 requestin g tha t h e "pleas e d o b e s o kin d a s t o g o a s soo n a s possibl e t o th e addres s herewit h enclose d t o hav e you r pictur e taken." 29 6 This Proudho n wa s willin g t o do bu t th e resultin g photograp h wa s insufficien t a s th e basi s fo r Courbet' s concep t o f th e portrai t h e the n wante d t o paint Accordingly Courbe t aske d Proudho n o n Jun e 3 t o agai n visi t th e photographi c studi o i n hope s o f a bette r outcome Thi s Proudho n did an d tha t photograp h becam e th e basi s o f Courbet' s memoria l Proudho n portraits I t i s fortunat e tha t Proudho n wa s willin g t o visi t th e photographi c studi o a s Courbe t wa s stil l implorin g hi m fo r a liv e sittin g righ t u p t o Proudhon' s death I n hi s Januar y 13 186 5 lette r t o Jule s Castagnar y Courbe t become s desperate "Yo u mus t se e Proudho n immediatel y o n m y behalf As k hi m b y wa y o f pretext fo r th e lette r I wrot e hi m o n th e freedo m o f th e Exhibition. .an d wit h tha t pretext se e whethe r ther e i s stil l a wa y t o d o hi s portrait." 29 7 H e no w require d a "pretext t o attemp t t o acquir e tim e fo r a sittin g fro m Proudhon hi s suppose d dea r friend Si x day s later o n Januar y 19 1865 Proudho n died neve r havin g sa t fo r Courbet 29 6 Ibid 222 29 7 Ibid 255 9 6

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Fig 14 : Proudhon and His Family, Gustav e Courbet 186 5 Asymmetrica l Writing s an d Unaccepte d Invitation s I t wa s sai d b y Proudho n tha t Courbe t "assassinated hi m wit h hi s length y letters Unfortunately not man y o f the m stil l exist Fro m a readin g o f Proudhon' s correspondenc e t o other s (Ma x Buchon ) w e ca n tel l tha t th e philosophe r wa s unhapp y wit h th e volum e o f Courbet' s correspondence o r a t least wit h th e lengt h o f th e letter s themselves Proudhon' s referenc e t o th e lengt h o f Courbet' s letter s wa s no t a n exaggeration Courbe t himsel f tol d Ma x Bucho n i n Augus t o f 186 3 "Ever y da y I writ e Proudho n m y eigh t o r te n page s o f aesthetics o n th e ar t tha t i s bein g done th e ar t tha t I hav e don e an d wis h t o establish." 30 0 Thes e length y missive s wer e Courbet' s attempt s t o "collaborate wit h Proudho n o n hi s larg e treatise publishe d posthumously Duprincipe de I'art. I n hi s lette r t o hi s fathe r o f Jul y 28 186 3 Courbe t 29 8 Se e not e 5 Introductio n 29 9 Bowness "Courbet' s Proudhon, 127 Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 232 9 7

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tell s hi m tha t I a m i n correspondenc e wit h Proudhon Togethe r w e ar e writin g a n importan t wor k tha t makes th e connectio n betwee n m y ar t an d hi s philosoph y an d betwee n hi s wor k an d mine." 30 1 Ther e i s littl e doub t tha t Courbet' s report s o f collaboratio n wer e overstated Th e ver y larg e wor k Du principe de Tart containe d onl y on e chapte r regardin g Courbe t an d tha t wor k wa s almos t exclusivel y Proudhon's Proudhon' s reactio n t o Courbet' s attempt s a t collaboratio n wer e les s tha n enthusiastic typicall y th e "utte r exasperation" 30 2 cite d b y Rubin Ther e exis t ove r twent y Courbe t letter s whic h mentio n Proudhon eightee n t o othe r recipients an d fou r letter s t o Proudho n himself O f thes e letters eigh t wer e writte n wit h respec t t o Proudhon' s deat h an d fiv e wer e writte n wit h respec t t o obtainin g a likenes s o f th e man I t i s certainl y possibl e tha t othe r letter s t o Proudho n existe d a t on e tim e an d wer e no t retaine d b y eithe r party bu t conclusion s canno t b e draw n absen t th e evidence Conversely i t ma y b e tha t severa l length y Courbe t manuscript s wer e reclaime d b y Courbe t an d destroyed I n a postscrip t t o a Courbe t lette r t o Proudho n date d Decembe r 8 1864 thei r mutua l friend Max Buchon appende d th e following : "Courbe t ha s talke d t o m e agai n abou t th e numerou s manuscript s o n th e subjec t tha t h e ha s manufacture d fo r you an d h e wonder s whethe r i t woul d no t b e advisabl e fo r hi m t o retriev e the m fro m yo u a t som e point fo r h e i s afrai d tha t thos e lon g letters i f eve r the y wer e t o fal l int o th e wron g hands coul d b e use d a s wa r machine s agains t 1 Ibid 227 Rubin Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon, 85 9 8

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him." 30 3 Thi s referenc e likel y concern s Courbet' s previousl y mentione d lette r t o Proudho n o f summe r 186 3 i n whic h Courbet i n hi s extensiv e lis t o f aphorisms makes a numbe r o f observation s regardin g socia l an d economi c matter s whic h pertai n mor e t o politic s tha n the y d o t o art an d whic h offe r significan t an d critica l observation s o f importan t individuals I n hi s insightfu l treatmen t o f th e Courbet-Proudho n relationship Ala n Bownes s note s tha t amon g th e letter s whic h Proudho n saved fro m roughl y thre e hundre d correspondents ther e i s no t a singl e lette r fro m Courbe t whic h Proudho n though t t o keep an d onl y a fe w scattere d reference s t o Courbe t i n hi s Carnets, a s whe n Proudho n memorialize s i n hi s diar y o f Augus t 20 1857 tha t h e ha s bee n advise d b y Courbe t an d Champfleur y abou t th e "infamies de G. Sand, et autres gens de letters." Proudhon a notoriou s prude wa s sufficientl y aggrieve d b y Sand' s equall y notoriou s (fo r entirel y differin g reasons ) activitie s t o commen t upo n the m fo r posterity I t i s instractiv e t o not e tha t o f suc h materia l i s on e o f th e fe w reference s t o Courbet Perhap s mos t significantly amon g th e hundred s o f letter s writte n b y Proudho n whic h hav e bee n saved ther e i s no t a singl e lette r t o Courbet. 30 7 Whe n w e tur n t o a stud y o f Courbet' s rea l o r fancie d visitation s wit h Proudhon w e find tha t a carefu l reading o f Courbet' s correspondenc e indicate s a numbe r o f 30 3 Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 250 Thi s citatio n i n Ch u i s a postscrip t appende d t o th e lette r b y Buchon 30 4 Ibid 228 30 5 Bowness "Courbet' s Proudhon, 124 30 6 Pseudony m o f Amantin e Auror e Lucil e Dupin Barones s Dudevan t Crapo "D i o f 1861,"68 30 7 Crapo "Disjunctur e o n th e Left : Proudhon Courbe t an d th e Antwer p Conferenc e 9 9

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reference s t o Courbet-Proudho n meeting s tha t neve r happened sitting s tha t Proudho n woul d neve r agre e to an d mutua l trip s no t taken I n hi s lette r t o hi s father reportin g o n th e Antwer p Conferenc e o f 1861 Courbe t first indicates purporte d plan s wit h Proudho n tha t faile d t o materialize I staye d wit h M Gossi a shi p owner Proudho n an d Victo r Hug o wer e suppose d t o sta y ther e (too) bu t neithe r on e was abl e t o come Hug o becaus e h e was ill an d Proudho n becaus e h e ha d pressin g work." 30 8 I n poin t o f fact Proudho n gav e carefu l consideratio n t o attendin g th e conference, but make s n o not e o f eve n considerin g stayin g wit h th e Courbe t group I n Augus t o f 186 3 Courbe t wrot e t o hi s clos e frien d Ma x Bucho n (wh o wa s arreste d fo r hi s revolutionar y activitie s i n th e Jun e Day s o f 1848 ) wit h who m h e attende d bot h th e petit Seminar y an d th e Colleg e o f Besancon, 31 0 "w e hav e plotted Proudho n an d I t o com e badge r yo u i n Salin s i n earl y September." 31 1 Thi s visi t di d com e t o pass but significantly onl y b y Courbe t himself I n Courbet' s lette r t o Proudho n o f Decembe r 8 1864 writte n whil e h e i s stil l visitin g Salins i t i s clea r tha t Proudho n i s i n Paris no t i n Salin s wit h Courbe t an d Buchon Courbe t eve n remind s Proudho n tha t h e ha d promise d t o accompan y hi m t o Ornans, 31 2 a promis e tha t i s nowher e atteste d t o excep t i n Courbet' s ow n letters Courbe t create s a stron g inferenc e fo r physica l associatio n tha t neve r occurred Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 200 30 9 Ibid 360 31 0 Mack Gustave Courbet 10 20 Ti l Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 232 31 2 Ibid 250 10 0

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Fro m Persona l Missive s t o Publi c Manifestos : Th e Emulatio n Begin s I n 1855 fou r year s afte r havin g me t Proudhon Courbe t publishe d hi s famou s Realist Manifesto, accompanyin g hi s 185 5 exhibition I n it w e fin d hi s first publi c utterance s o f Proudhonia n themes Th e tex t i s mainl y centere d upo n hi s definitio n o f Realis m i n ar t (rejectin g ar t fo r art' s sake ) a relativel y brie f excursio n int o hi s feeling s regardin g th e ar t o f th e ancients an d hi s clai m o f no t belongin g t o an y "school o f art However Courbe t als o makes tw o statement s tha t ar e les s relate d t o ar t tha n the y ar e t o Proudhonia n philosophy H e maintain s tha t hi s wor k i s essentiall y a representatio n o f hi s ow n "reasone d an d independen t consciousnes s o f (his ) ow n individuality. H e goe s o n t o not e tha t h e wa s "no t onl y a painter bu t a ma n a s well, clearl y invokin g th e Proudhonia n idea l o f individuality Thi s definitio n o f Realis m i n ar t wa s a relativel y simpl e descriptio n o f a n ar t for m tha t was muc h discusse d a t th e tim e an d whic h deserve s som e measur e o f explication Accordin g t o T.J Clark a Realis t schoo l o f ar t (sometime s referre d t o a s L'Ecol e Socialiste ) ha d existed t o som e extent fro m th e 1840s bu t b y 185 0 i t ha d "..take n o n a ne w form," 31 4 becomin g eve n mor e modern gritt y an d politicall y charge d tha n th e earl y Realis t works an d i n th e moder n phrase "edgy" Thi s schoo l wa s criticize d b y th e traditionalis t critic s o f th e tim e a s bein g compose d o f artist s wh o faile d t o d o wha t ar t wa s suppose d t o do namel y t o transcen d th e realit y o f th e worl d a s i t wa s an d t o envisio n a mor e elevate d idea l o f wha t th e worl d shoul d be Instead i t glorifie d th e commonplac e an d th e commo n man •7 1 'X Metropolita n Museu m o f Art Gustave Courbet, 447 Notes Her e quotin g Courbet' s Realist Manifesto (1855) Clark Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the Revolution of 1848, 130 10 1

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Courbe t ha d n o argumen t wit h th e concep t o f Realis m a s a glorificatio n o f th e trut h o f everyday life I n hi s famou s lette r i n whic h h e announce d himsel f t o b e "no t onl y a socialis t but a democra t an d a Republica n a s well, h e say s tha t h e i s "abov e al l a Realist. .fo r 'Realist means a sincer e love r o f hones t truth. Th e entir e Realis t schoo l o f ar t remaine d controversia l a t leas t unti l 185 7 whe n Castagnar y wrot e hi s firs t Salo n revie w and accordin g t o Courbet "vindicated Realism However a s muc h a s h e proclaime d himsel f t o b e a Realist, h e di d tak e issu e wit h th e ide a o f a "school o f art Claimin g t o hav e bee n entirel y sel f taught Courbe t tol d th e youn g artist s o f Pari s i n 186 1 tha t "ther e ca n b e n o schools onl y painters." 31 8 I n this h e wa s takin g t o tas k th e critic s wh o no t onl y applaude d Realism bu t claime d tha t Courbe t wa s i n som e manne r a leade r o f tha t movement A t th e tim e o f th e 185 1 Salon criti c Prospe r Haussar d declare d tha t "w e ar e read y t o applau d th e formatio n o f a schoo l o f painter s o f th e people o f whic h MM Courbet Fr Mille t an d Jeanro n ma y b e th e chiefs." 31 9 Fo r Courbet Realis m wa s key a schoo l o f Realis m wit h hi m a t it s head was impossible Th e 1860' s wer e a transitional tim e fo r Courbe t wit h respec t t o hi s correspondence durin g whic h tim e h e change d fro m th e painte r wh o wrot e persona l letter s t o friend s an d family t o th e activis t wh o dispatche d manifesto s t o th e publi c pres s muc h lik e th e editorial s o f Proudhon Fro m th e beginnin g o f hi s lif e awa y fro m hom e an d family h e wrot e onl y tw o letter s fo r publicatio n unti l h e wa s thirty-tw o TI C Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 103 31 6 Ibid 103 31 7 Ibid 156 31 8 Ibid 204 Clark Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the Revolution of 1848, 130 10 2

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year s old I t i s notabl e tha t thi s perio d include d th e excitin g but disastrou s day s o f th e revolutio n o f 1848 durin g whic h h e too k n o publi c politica l position s a t all no t a singl e lette r t o th e edito r o r an y othe r typ e o f publi c writing Th e tw o publi c letter s fro m earl y i n hi s caree r wer e totall y non-political Th e first wa s mean t t o tak e exceptio n t o th e characterizatio n o f hi m a s a studen t o f painte r August e Hesse wit h Courbe t havin g maintaine d fo r year s tha t h e ha d n o teache r an d was completel y self-taught Th e secon d o f thes e letter s i s significan t i n tha t i t explicitl y take s th e positio n tha t h e wa s definitel y no t involve d i n a politica l meetin g whic h h e ha d bee n allege d t o hav e attended I t wa s i n thi s lette r tha t h e mad e hi s famou s statemen t tha t h e wa s "no t onl y a socialis t bu t a democra t an d a "39 0 Republica n a s well" a socialist democra t an d Republica n indeed bu t i n n o wa y politicall y active a fac t whic h h e intende d t o mak e abundantl y clear Beginnin g i n 1861 Courbe t wrot e n o fewe r tha n ninetee n letter s fo r publication mos t o f the m politica l i n nature Fiftee n o f th e letter s dea l wit h hi s squabble s wit h variou s governmen t agencies ; five arguin g ove r th e subjec t o f ar t an d politics thre e regardin g hi s runnin g fo r electiv e office fou r dealin g wit h th e destructio n o f th e Vendom e Column an d thre e dealin g wit h othe r politica l matters Onl y fou r o f hi s publi c letter s canno t b e characterize d a s bein g politica l i n nature Hi s mos t significan t publi c lette r o f th e 1860' s i s tha t one previousl y noted t o th e youn g artist s o f Paris writte n i n Decembe r o f 1861 I n i t w e find, i n additio n t o hi s larges t an d mos t comprehensiv e discussio n o f ar t an d artists a numbe r o f statement s ^9 0 Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 103 10 3

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whic h reflec t hi s impression s o f Proudhon' s teaching Courbe t assume s th e postur e o f th e ma n h e consider s t o b e hi s philosophica l idol an d become s effectivel y i f no t consciously th e master teachin g hi s ow n would-b e followers H e tell s th e youn g artist s tha t h e canno t agre e t o se t u p a studi o i n whic h h e woul d b e maste r an d they students a s "ever y artis t mus t b e hi s ow n master." 32 1 Individualis m i s all H e tell s th e aspirin g student s that i f h e wer e t o wor k wit h them i t coul d onl y b e a s "associates, hi s adherenc e t o th e principl e o f Mutualis m s o belove d o f Proudhon Th e entir e perspectiv e i s i n lin e wit h Proudhon' s ow n repl y t o Mar x bac k i n 1846 whic h coul d b e rea d a s eithe r a conditional acceptance o r conditiona l rejection I n thi s case a s i n tha t o f th e Marx-Proudho n correspondence i t make s n o difference I n thi s publi c lette r h e manifest s tha t fascinatin g contradictio n s o inheren t i n Proudhon' s works tha t althoug h h e ma y teac h them the y canno t becom e hi s followers classi c Proudhon Thi s lette r present s on e o f thos e interestin g difficultie s i n dealin g wit h Courbet' s correspondence Th e lette r wa s writte n o n Decembe r 25 t h 186 1 an d publishe d i n Courrier du dimanche o n Decembe r 29 t h o f tha t year I t i s clear concise wel l written an d i n th e handwritin g o f Jule s Castagnary Th e onl y extan t cop y o f thi s manuscrip t contain s th e writin g o f Castagnary an d th e signatur e o f Courbet I t i s saf e t o presum e tha t th e thought s ar e Courbet' s (an d Proudhon's ) bu t tha t Castagnar y was abl e t o pu t thos e idea s dow n o n pape r i n a manne r mor e suitabl e fo r publicatio n tha n coul d Courbe t himself Ibid 203 204 Ibid 205 10 4

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A t thi s sam e time th e 1860's h e first begin s wit h hi s publi c debate s regardin g th e governmen t an d art the n b y th e 1870' s h e ha s involve d himsel f i n seriou s politica l action muc h lik e Proudho n di d i n th e 1840's Letter s t o th e editor ope n letter s t o th e Germa n army exhortation s t o th e artist s o f Paris declaimin g hi s position s publicl y i n theaters Courbe t di d i t all I n a scen e reminiscen t o f Proudhon' s anti-Catholi c Churc h diatrib e i n 1858' s De la Justice, Courbe t publishe d hi s ow n anti-Catholi c Churc h pamphlets Les Cures en goguette an d La Mort de Jeannot: Les Frais de culte i n 1868 Whe n on e consider s tha t Proudhon' s gian t Du principe de I'art bega n lif e a s a pamphle t size d defens e o f Les Cures, Courbet' s attemp t a t hi s ow n pamphleteerin g i n hi s ow n words i s understandable I n this a s i n hi s effort s t o explai n Proudhon' s philosoph y i n Antwerp hi s effort s fel l shor t o f Proudhonia n quality Politica l performanc e a s performanc e ar t ha d replace d ar t itsel f a s a mean s t o sen d a message Th e Antwer p Conferenc e Th e Antwer p Conferenc e o n Art hel d Augus t 19-21 186 1 provide d a n opportunit y fo r concerne d individual s t o mee t an d discus s ar t relate d issue s o f th e day fro m a discussio n o f Realis m t o debate s o f a commercia l natur e regardin g th e "business o f art Whil e th e bul k o f th e participant s argue d topic s suc h a s unauthorize d reproductio n o f artwork s an d copyrigh t inheritanc e issues Courbe t engage d i n wha t i s describe d b y Pau l Crap o a s "merriment an d "exhibitionism." 32 3 Proudhon afte r seriou s consideration decide d no t t o attend an d rather sen t delegate s Crap o "Disjunctur e o n th e Left : Proudhon Courbe t an d th e Antwer p Conferenc e o f 1861, 70 10 5

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t o represen t hi s ideas selectin g fo r thi s tas k Gustav e Chaude y an d Noel-Francois Alfre d Madie r d e Montjau. 32 4 Thi s wa s a semina l moment, becaus e no w Courbe t turne d fro m bein g onl y a n opinionate d painte r i n public t o someon e wh o actuall y attempte d t o represen t th e issue s importan t t o Proudhon wit h mixe d result s an d wit h n o authorizatio n fro m th e philosopher Ha d Proudho n wante d Courbe t t o represen t hi s views an d ha d the y bee n th e clos e persona l friend s tha t the y ar e s o ofte n depicte d t o be ther e woul d hav e bee n n o nee d t o sen d Chaude y an d Madie r d e Montja u t o d o so T o postur e a s a representative o f Proudho n wa s typica l Courbe t a s h e entere d th e emulatio n cycl e o f th e relationship Ther e ar e tw o ke y point s here th e first bein g tha t Courbe t wa s i n n o wa y a representative o f Proudhon an d eve n mor e significantly whe n Courbe t di d mak e hi s self-appointe d attemp t t o represen t Proudhon' s views h e faile d t o presen t th e philosopher' s perspectiv e accurately Proudho n wa s abundantl y clea r tha t hi s representative s wer e Chaude y an d Madie r d e Montjau no t Courbet Bot h o f hi s representative s wer e notabl e attorneys wel l verse d i n Proudhon' s area s o f interes t i n th e conference unauthorize d reproduction s o f artisti c o r literar y work s an d inheritanc e right s fo r copyrighte d materials Proudho n wa s no t particularl y intereste d i n th e artisti c discussion s o r display s a t all Courbe t woul d hav e bee n a terribl e choic e a s representative Yet tha t wa s th e postur e tha t Courbe t assume d fo r himself Ibid 71 10 6

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H e sai d i n hi s profession defoi t o thos e attendin g th e conferenc e tha t I regre t tha t m y frien d Proudhon wit h who m I ge t alon g s o well wh o ha s arrive d a t simila r conclusion s t o min e althoug h alon g differen t paths coul d no t b e her e t o suppor t m y thesis. clearl y indicatin g tha t h e wa s professin g Proudhonia n ideas whil e suggestin g tha t th e idea s wer e hi s an d woul d onl y hav e neede d "support fro m Proudhon H e the n proceede d t o clai m tha t th e cor e o f Realis m wa s essentiall y "th e negatio n o f th e ideal," 32 7 a simplificatio n whic h Proudho n wa s uncomfortabl e wit h whe n h e learne d o f it Proudho n wa s considerabl y mor e concerne d wit h quit e th e opposite tha t ar t reac h ou t t o th e beautifu l an d th e sublim e i n way s tha t manifeste d th e powe r o f th e ideal whic h wa s substantiall y a pre-Courbet pre-Realis m conceptualization Courbet' s defense de Realisme wa s no t simpl y a recapitulatio n o f hi s 185 5 Realist Manifesto, i t als o containe d hi s attempte d Proudhonia n reference s whic h wer e no t presen t i n th e Manifesto. I n '55 Courbe t ha d take n th e positio n tha t hi s intentio n wa s primaril y no t t o practic e "ar t fo r art' s sake," 32 8 rathe r i t wa s "t o kno w i n orde r t o b e ^9 Q abl e t o create. B y th e tim e o f th e 186 1 conferenc e however Courbe t ha d move d o n t o th e negatio n o f th e ideal claimin g tha t th e essentia l characte r o f mode m ar t was th e material no t th e spiritual o r th e religious H e tol d th e conferenc e tha t "th e 32 6 Ibid 84 Her e Crap o cite s Gustav e Courbet' s Profession de Foi (1861) 32 7 Ibid 84 TO O Metropolita n Museu m o f Art Gustave Courbet, 447 Notes 32 9 Ibid 447 10 7

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negatio n o f th e idea l (result s in ) th e emancipatio n o f reason th e emancipatio n o f th e individual an d ultimately th e emancipatio n o f democracy." 33 0 Her e wa s th e cor e o f th e oversimplificatio n whic h distresse d Proudhon H e wa s quit e happy t o rejec t th e idealis m o f th e Church bu t no t idealis m i n it s totality H e di d no t rejec t a n idealis m base d o n th e "schoo l whic h wa s human rational progressiv e an d definitive," 33 1 essentiall y a n idealis m base d o n humanis m rathe r tha n fait h i n a highe r power I t wa s thi s distinctio n whic h Courbe t faile d t o grasp bu t whic h wa s explaine d t o th e attendee s o n behal f o f Proudho n b y Madie r d e Montjau Proudho n himsel f explaine d i n Du principe de I'art tha t ar t ha d t o b e mor e tha n mer e replicatio n o f reality i t mus t striv e t o teach inform an d guid e society Ar t whic h di d non e o f thos e thing s an d whic h wa s simpl y photographi c wa s "th e Grea t Error th e mistak e o f al l mistakes. Tha t i s wh y th e earl y Courbe t work s suc h a s The Stonebreakers s o appeale d t o him B y now thirtee n year s afte r tha t "socialist painting Courbe t ha d manage d t o los e th e perspectiv e entirely I t fel l t o Madier Montja u t o publicl y correc t Courbet' s representation s an d explicat e Proudho n fo r th e attendees Whe n remarkin g publicl y o n th e events o f th e conferenc e Proudho n omitte d Courbe t fro m al l commentar y wit h on e smal l exception listin g hi m amon g persons wh o ha d mad e remark s whic h aide d i n "foilin g th e intrigue" 33 4 o f certai n faction s a t 33 0 Crapo "Disjunctur e o n th e Left : Proudhon Courbe t an d th e Antwer p Conferenc e o f 1861, 84 Here Crap o agai n cite s Courbet' s Profession de Foi, (1861) O T 1 Ibid 74 Crap o cite s Proudhon' s Duprincipe del'art. 33 2 Ibid 78 33 3 Ibid 71 33 4 Ibid 71 10 8

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th e conference distancin g himsel f fro m th e painter' s action s an d explanations Proudhon' s silenc e roared Fro m Bein g Hi s Ow n Governmen t t o Bein g Le Representant du Peuple I di d no t fee l tha t I wa s i n an y wa y a par t o f tha t government tha t I to o wa s a government." 33 5 Gustav e Courbe t I n Apri l o f 184 8 Pierre-Josep h Proudhon a proudl y admitte d socialis t an d leade r o f th e anarchis t factio n was electe d t o th e Frenc h Nationa l Assembly a n amazin g accomplishmen t whe n on e consider s tha t onl y 1.2 % o f th e Frenc h populatio n wa s allowe d t o vot e a t tha t time Tha t 1.2 % wit h th e franchis e ha d t o b e lan d owner s wit h significan t propert y i n orde r t o qualify Fro m thi s w e ca n conclud e tha t hi s electio n wa s not a matte r o f simpl y bein g supporte d b y th e uneducated th e jobless th e dispossessed H e ha d th e suppor t o f significan t number s o f bourgeoi s intellectual s i n hi s campaign I n 184 8 France th e politica l left an d th e oppositio n t o th e governmen t di d no t consis t solel y o f th e childre n o f th e sans-culottes o f 1793 I t include d merchants intellectuals artist s an d writers Th e onl y demographi c wh o wer e resolutel y conservativ e wer e th e rura l bourgeois fa r fro m Paris Fo r Courbet th e situatio n wa s different H e woul d see k electio n t o th e Commun e amon g th e newl y enfranchise d masses an d h e di d s o successfully Th e Franco-Prussia n War th e sieg e o f Paris an d hi s subsequen t participatio n i n th e Commun e provide d Courbe t wit h th e idea l fulfillmen t o f hi s politica l ambition s an d constitute d th e fourt h elemen t i n hi s Proudhonia n emulation Paintin g no w too k a Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 115 10 9

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bac k sea t t o politica l activism an d politica l activis m too k cente r stag e fo r Courbe t inasmuc h a s h e ha d "n o inclinatio n t o bea r arms." 33 6 A s h e wrot e t o hi s famil y i n Septembe r o f 1870 "th e performanc e o f civi c dutie s come s first." 337 H e wa s electe d t o th e presidenc y o f th e Genera l Superintendenc e o f th e Nationa l Museum s an d appointe d b y th e Ministr y o f Publi c Education Worshi p an d Fin e Art s t o th e Frenc h Archive s Committee Hi s appointmen t t o th e Archive s Committe e woul d b e shor t live d a s withi n tw o month s h e resigne d du e t o th e committee' s decisio n no t t o remov e fro m offic e th e museu m official s wh o ha d bee n appointe d b y th e previou s regime a n ac t whic h free d hi m t o ran fo r publi c offic e an d whic h wa s supportiv e o f hi s anti authoritaria n beliefs. A s di d Proudho n i n 1848 Courbe t entere d th e politica l aren a wit h a n initia l attemp t a t publi c offic e i n Januar y o f 1871 whe n h e entertaine d th e notio n o f mnnin g fo r th e Nationa l Assembl y t o b e hel d i n Bordeaux I n a n ope n lette r t o th e citizen s o f Pari s h e announce d tha t "havin g bee n informe d tha t severa l arrondissement s hav e nominate d m e fo r th e formidabl e assembl y tha t wil l tak e plac e i n Bordeaux I readil y TO O accept i f yo u believ e tha t I ca n serv e m y country. Althoug h h e claime d i n a lette r t o hi s family 33 9 t o hav e receive d 50,66 6 votes h e faile d t o b e elected a n inauspiciou s star t t o a politica l career but on e tha t di d nothin g t o dissuad e hi m fro m furthe r attempt s a t publi c office Th e onl y recor d o f hi s havin g receive d th e suppose d 50,66 6 vote s i s hi s ow n clai m i n th e letter 33 6 Ibid 385 33 7 Ibid 385 33 8 Ibid 403 33 9 Ibid 405 11 0

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Hi s succeedin g attempt s finall y bor e frui t i n th e chaoti c atmospher e o f th e Commune O n Marc h 19 187 1 Courbe t publicl y announce d hi s candidac y fo r Representativ e o f th e Commun e fo r th e sixt h arrondissemen t i n election s t o b e hel d o n Marc h 26 1871 a secon d electio n whic h h e als o lost However i n th e supplementar y electio n o f Apri l 16 hel d t o fill seat s emptie d throug h resignations h e manage d t o secur e electio n wit h 2,41 8 votes I n a n ac t typica l o f th e "proudes t an d mos t arrogan t ma n i n France" h e accepte d electio n eve n thoug h h e di d no t receiv e th e mandator y one-eight h o f th e tota l numbe r o f registere d voter s i n th e arrondissement Thi s undervot e wa s understandabl e i n that accordin g t o Ruper t Christianse n i n hi s histor y o f th e Commune ther e ha d occurre d a significan t exodu s o f voter s fro m al l ove r Paris leavin g relativel y fe w behin d t o cas t ballots A s h e tol d August e Rogear d o n Apri l 22 "eve n i f I ha d bee n nominate d wit h thre e votes I woul d hav e accepte d th e positio n becaus e i t i s dangerous I woul d hav e accepte d i f the y ha d authorize d m e t o nominat e myself. l A t thi s point Courbe t no t onl y wa s willin g t o participat e i n th e politica l proces s an d serv e i n electiv e office bu t sough t tha t offic e wit h determination B y Apri l 30 t h h e coul d repor t t o hi s famil y tha t h e wa s "u p t o [his ] nec k i n politics." 34 2 A s di d Proudho n i n 1848 h e no w ha d th e opportunit y t o pu t hi s idea s t o th e tes t o f governing I t was fo r thi s electio n tha t Courbe t publishe d hi s famou s profession defoi a s first note d i n chapte r four whic h i s filled wit h Proudhonia n representation s suc h a s I hav e straggle d agains t al l form s o f governmen t tha t ar e authoritaria n an d b y divin e Christiansen Paris Babylon: The Story of the Paris Commune, 319 Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 414 34 2 Ibid 416 417 Il l

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right fo r I wan t ma n t o gover n himself-accordin g t o hi s needs fo r hi s direc t benefit an d i n accordanc e wit h hi s ow n ideas. .Al l association s tha t ar e self-regulate d an d constitute d accordin g t o thei r ow n interest s wil l b e ou r 'cantons' an d th e mor e the y gover n themselve s th e mor e the y wil l eas e th e tas k o f th e Commune. Al l o f thes e ideas wer e base d o n principle s enunciate d b y Proudho n i n hi s 186 3 wor k Du principe federative. I n thi s case hi s profession appear s t o hav e counte d fo r mor e tha n twent y year s o f realit y a s fa r a s th e voter s wer e concerned i n tha t the y pu t hi m i n office No t al l o f th e Communard s themselve s wer e i n favo r o f Courbet' s attentions I n hi s journa l Catull e Mende s wrote "fo r heaven' s sake Courbet ge t bac k t o painting It' s sprin g an d yo u shoul d b e i n th e woods sketchin g th e rustlin g youn g leaves no t debatin g an d federatin g i n th e Hote l d e Ville Ho w wil l an y o f thi s mak e yo u a bette r artist?" 34 5 A s al l o f th e decision s o f th e Commun e transpired Courbe t mad e hi s finest Proudhonia n emulativ e gestur e o n Ma y 1 1871 hi s mos t significan t homag e t o Proudhon whe n h e wen t agains t th e wishe s o f th e majorit y o f hi s fello w Communard s o n a ke y proposal I t was on e o f thos e proposal s whic h see m t o b e a cal l t o radicalism a n attemp t fo r on e factio n t o out-radica l another t o se e wh o was reall y on-point O n Apri l 28 t h i t ha d bee n propose d tha t th e Commun e establis h a Committe e o f Publi c Safety wit h ful l dictatoria l powers eeril y reminiscen t o f th e Reig n o f Terror followin g th e revolutio n o f 1793 I n accor d wit h th e fines t anarchis t traditio n o f repudiatio n o f al l form s o f oppressio n an d centralizatio n o f powe r 34 3 Ibid 413 34 4 Ibid 414 Christiansen Paris Babylon: The Story of the Paris Commune, 317 11 2

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possible Courbe t sai d no Th e vot e ultimatel y wen t i n favo r o f th e Committe e b y a vot e o f forty-fiv e fo r approva l t o twenty-thre e agains t th e plan Th e minorit y o f th e Communard s wh o disagree d wit h th e decisio n issue d thei r ow n publi c manifesto whic h Courbe t signed stating : "Wherea s th e establishmen t o f a Committe e o f Publi c Safet y wil l inevitabl y entai l th e creatio n o f a dictatoria l powe r whic h wil l contribut e nothin g t o th e strengt h o f th e Commune. .therefor e th e creatio n o f an y dictatorshi p b y th e Commun e woul d b e i n fac t a usurpatio n o f th e sovereignt y o f th e people w e 14 7 vot e i n th e negative. Wit h thi s vote Courbe t succeede d i n manifestin g i n th e mos t publi c manne r possibl e Proudhon' s dictu m a s h e ha d outline d i t i n hi s lette r t o Marx tha t h e woul d no t becom e a part y t o anythin g whic h woul d serv e t o creat e leader s o f a ne w intolerance." 34 8 H e ha d finally interprete d th e maste r correctl y an d vote d hi s conscienc e i n a manne r o f whic h Proudho n woul d hav e bee n proud Hi s vot e di d no t sto p th e ensuin g killin g an d destmction ; th e Tuileries wa s burned th e hostage s wer e executed petroleuses roame d th e streets an d larg e section s o f Pari s wer e destroyed But du e t o hi s vot e agains t centralized dictatoria l power Courbe t wa s responsibl e fo r non e o f that Mack Gustave Courbet, 257 34 7 Ibid 258 34 8 O p Cit Proudho n t o Mar x Th e so-calle d petroleuses wer e wome n wh o roame d th e street s o f Pari s settin g fires durin g th e wors t o f th e destruction Althoug h th e imag e o f th e petroleuse wa s widel y disseminate d afte r th e suppressio n o f th e Commun e b y th e force s o f order an d thei r exploit s wer e exaggerate d greatl y fo r politica l effect i t wa s no t th e case a s claime d b y th e apologist s fo r th e Commune tha t the y wer e solel y a right-win g myth 11 3

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CHAPTE R SK : CONCLUSION S TH E MYT H AN D TH E MA N I a m th e proudes t an d mos t arrogan t ma n i n France." 35 0 (1853 ) I hav e bee n unswervingl y occupie d wit h th e socia l questio n an d th e philosophie s connecte d wit h it choosin g m y ow n path paralle l t o tha t o f m y comrad e Proudhon." 35 1 (1871 ) Gustav e Courbe t Gustav e Courbe t spen t th e bette r par t o f hi s lif e creatin g fancifu l self-image s o f Courbe t th e musician Courbe t th e wounde d hero Courbe t th e desperat e man an d Courbe t th e itineran t artisan/laborer. 35 2 I n eac h o f thes e iteration s ther e wa s a n elemen t o f trut h a s wel l a s som e convenien t fiction. A s tim e passed th e ma n re invente d himsel f a s h e sa w th e nee d arise Hi s re-invention s o f sel f wer e quit e conscious ; fro m rusti c bourgeoi s t o left-ban k Parisia n an d the n bac k t o hard y rustic Fro m socialis t painte r t o marketabl e portraitist Fro m a ma n wh o di d no t participat e i n th e revolutio n o f 1848 t o a ma n wh o bragge d o f havin g don e s o ami d som e stretchin g o f th e truth An d fro m a ma n to o bus y t o concer n himsel f wit h politics t o a ma n fo r who m politica l actio n wa s hi s chie f concern, abandonin g hi s ar t fo r a yea r an d a half Hi s determinatio n t o b e wha t h e wante d t o b e wa s terribl y focused Chu The Letters of Gustave Courbet, 116 'ibid 413 2 Se e The Guitar Player, The Dying Man, The Desperate Man an d The Meeting. 11 4

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Fo r muc h o f th e las t century scholar s hav e typicall y characterize d th e natur e o f th e relationshi p betwee n Courbe t an d Proudho n a s lon g term clos e an d mutuall y fulfilling base d largel y o n a n earl y translatio n o f a ke y Courbe t letter acceptanc e a t fac e valu e o f Courbet' s repeate d representations an d anecdota l evidence If a s I hav e argued w e tak e a mor e litera l interpretatio n a s Ch u offers the n th e natur e o f th e relationshi p i s changed Thi s i s significan t a s i t suggest s tha t lon g ter m canonica l reading s o f th e associatio n betwee n th e tw o me n ar e fundamentall y flawed Base d o n th e numbe r o f letter s fro m Courbe t t o Proudhon whic h wer e minima l b y Courbet' s prolifi c standards an d als o Proudhon' s lac k o f writte n response w e ca n observ e som e loos e correlations Utilizin g thi s dat a w e offe r a differen t interpretatio n o f th e relationship A reca p o f th e actua l dat a show s th e followin g wit h respec t t o th e essentiall y asymmetrica l natur e o f th e relationship Th e 199 2 Ch u translatio n o f th e Januar y 24 186 5 lette r fro m Courbe t t o Gustav e Chaude y indicate s tha t Courbe t an d Proudho n di d no t "si t togethe r daily i n th e Boi s d e Boulogne Th e onl y tw o meeting s betwee n Courbe t an d Proudho n whic h ca n b e documente d throug h th e writing s o f eithe r ma n wer e th e 185 1 meetin g a t Saint e Pelagi e priso n an d Proudhon' s attendanc e a t Courbet' s 185 5 on e ma n exhibition Bot h o f thes e meeting s ar e atteste d t o i n Proudhon' s Carnets. 11 5

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No t a singl e on e o f th e trips visits o r planne d excursion s b y th e tw o me n togethe r whic h ar e mentione d b y Courbe t i n hi s letter s eve r happened Amon g hundred s o f extan t letter s o f Proudhon no t on e i s addresse d t o Courbet Amon g Proudhon' s papers containin g ove r thre e hundre d receive d letters no t a singl e lette r fro m Courbe t i s saved I n Courbet' s prolifi c correspondenc e ther e i s no t a singl e mentio n o f Proudho n prio r t o 1854 whe n h e attempte d t o acquir e a likenes s o f Proudho n fo r inclusio n i n The Studio. I n th e productio n o f The Studio, Courbet a ma n renowne d fo r hi s abilit y t o rende r accurat e depiction s fro m memory coul d no t pain t th e fac e o f Proudho n withou t assistance Th e emulativ e aspect s o f th e relationshi p ar e demonstrate d b y th e following Courbet' s writing s fro m 185 5 o n ar e demonstrate d t o chang e fro m privat e letter s t o persona l friend s an d famil y to ; Proudhonia n publi c manifesto s writte n t o th e artist s o f Paris professions defoi writte n t o editor s an d voters The Realist Manifesto, letter s t o th e Germa n army anti-Catholi c Churc h pamphlets an d demands fo r th e destructio n o f th e Vendom e Column Courbet' s attempt s t o spea k o n behal f o f Proudho n i n Antwer p i n 186 1 ar e documente d b y th e record s o f th e conference Proudhon' s Carnets, an d th e letter s o f Proudhon' s actua l representatives 11 6

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An d finally Courbet' s chang e fro m a "governmen t o f one t o a Representant du Peuple i s documente d b y bot h Courbet' s ow n correspondenc e an d th e record s o f th e Commune Althoug h th e conclusion s draw n i n thi s thesi s ar e th e resul t o f interpretatio n o f letters diarie s an d historica l fact i n eac h case th e representation s mad e i n thi s thesi s ar e base d o n har d dat a rathe r tha n speculation inference o r anecdote Throughou t th e tex t o f thi s paper a n importan t consideratio n ha s bee n t o no t impos e moder n psychologica l glosse s ont o th e action s o f a ma n o f th e nineteent h century However i t i s appropriat e a t thi s poin t t o as k tw o questions "Di d h e eve r com e t o understan d th e essentia l asymmetr y o f hi s relationshi p wit h Proudhon?" an d "Di d h e d o al l o f thi s o n purpose wa s hi s emulatio n o f Proudho n conscious? W e hav e show n tha t th e essentia l asymmetr y o f th e relationshi p wa s manifeste d i n thre e ke y areas : th e initia l translatio n whic h le d t o year s o f misunderstandin g o f th e natur e o f th e relationship th e notabl e lac k o f succes s i n convincin g Proudho n t o si t fo r a portrait an d th e asymmetr y o f correspondence Th e relationshi p was no t on e o f mutualit y o f affection i t wa s tha t o f discipl e an d reluctan t prophet a prophe t wh o woul d hav e vehementl y oppose d bein g regarde d a s suc h b y anyone an d mos t certainl y t o bein g regarde d a s suc h b y a ma n lik e Courbet Fo r eleve n year s (185 4 1865 ) Courbe t attempte d t o secur e tim e wit h Proudho n fo r a portrait Durin g thos e eleve n year s Proudho n di d no t choos e t o find th e time hardl y th e respons e o f a clos e friend H e woul d no t eve n accep t th e invitation s t o trave l together an d hi s diar y entrie s concernin g Courbe t wer e rudimentar y a t best an d no t 11 7

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a t al l complimentary But th e "proudes t an d mos t arrogan t ma n i n France neve r cam e t o understan d tha t disconnect Hi s correspondenc e exaggerate s hi s collaborativ e connectio n t o th e philosopher an d h e neve r seem s t o reac t to o r eve n b e consciou s of Proudhon' s negativit y toward s him T o th e ver y en d o f hi s life Courbe t san g th e praise s o f Proudhon withou t eve r seein g th e relationshi p fo r wha t i t was Gustav e Courbe t wa s no t a terribl y introspectiv e man W e find nothin g t o sugges t an y seriou s leve l o f insigh t i n hi s writings H e understand s tha t h e i s prou d an d arrogant tha t i s essentiall y th e exten t o f hi s self-knowledge H e certainl y wa s delude d i n hi s vie w o f hi s ow n capacitie s fo r intellectua l achievement An d s o w e com e t o th e conclusio n that fo r Courbet th e realit y o f th e natur e o f th e relationshi p wa s neve r reall y understood Wit h respec t t o Courbet' s emulatio n o f Proudhon ther e i s n o questio n tha t Courbe t followe d wha t h e understoo d (howeve r misunderstoo d tha t ma y hav e been ) t o b e th e socia l an d artisti c philosoph y o f Proudho n fo r man y years Thi s outloo k wa s hone d fro m th e rudimentary emotionall y revolutionar y mindse t tha t h e acquire d a s a youn g chil d a t th e dinne r tabl e i n th e famil y hom e i n Ornans an d perfecte d (a s h e sa w it ) afte r meetin g Proudho n i n 1851 However th e tex t o f hi s profession defoi, a s requeste d b y La Rappel, show s tha t hi s understandin g o f hi s ow n lif e pat h wa s cloude d b y hi s ego Hi s constructio n i n thi s lette r i s key H e claim s t o hav e chose n "his ow n path" but note s tha t i t i s "paralle l to. .Proudhon". I t i s th e ide a tha t hi s pat h wa s onl y "parallel t o tha t o f Proudho n whic h i s disingenuous Th e mos t "arrogan t ma n i n France ha d difficult y assessin g himsel f a s a followe r o f anyone b e i t o f a 11 8

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philosophe r o r o f a schoo l o f painting ye t tha t i s clearl y wha t h e was I t i s likel y tha t h e neve r reall y sa w hi s action s fo r wha t the y were I n Edwar d Hyams 197 9 intellectua l biograph y o f Proudhon h e referre d t o Courbe t a s Proudhon' s "frien d an d IC O almos t disciple, whic h i s a typica l characterizatio n o f th e relationship Th e mor e appropriat e characterizatio n woul d b e "distan t discipl e an d not-quit e friend" Ultimately thi s ha s bee n th e histor y o f a man' s lif e trajectory hi s politica l radicalization an d th e almos t inevitabl e result ; th e activism th e imprisonment th e exil e an d th e deterioratio n o f bot h th e ma n an d hi s art I t i s th e histor y o f a ma n wh o becam e eve r mor e radical actin g ou t hi s self-create d destructio n unde r th e influenc e o f anothe r ma n wh o di d no t eve n wan t t o accep t th e responsibilit y o f tha t influenc e an d wa s n o longe r aliv e t o eve n se e th e fina l result s o f th e association I f thi s wer e literatur e instea d o f ar t histor y ther e migh t hav e bee n a final redemption o r perhap s eve n salvation But ther e wa s n o redemptiv e moment n o epiphanies n o crownin g glor y o r greatness Courbe t wa s no t a ma n wh o die d a t th e height s o f hi s power s whil e stil l achievin g grea t things No hi s greates t achievement s wer e lon g behin d hi m i n a countr y h e coul d n o longe r cal l hi s own H e die d i n th e mids t o f passin g of f t o a n unsuspectin g publi c work s a s hi s ow n whic h wer e create d b y muc h lesse r men Hyams Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Revolutionary Life, Mind and Works, 17 11 9

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APPENDI X A : CORRESPONDENT S AN D PERSON S MENTIONE D Bakunin, Mikhail: Russia n anarchist fo e o f Mar x an d compatrio t o f Proudhon Baudelaire, Charles: Wel l know n Frenc h poe t an d novelist als o wrot e Salo n commentaries Bruyas, Alfred: Wealth y ar t collecto r an d patro n o f Courbet Commissione d severa l work s includin g portraits Famousl y picture d i n The Meeting. Buchon, Max: Youthfu l classmat e o f Courbe t an d lifelon g friend A significan t loca l author h e hel d republica n sentiments spen t tim e exile d i n Switzerland Castagnary, Jules-Antoine: A lawye r an d politician h e becam e notabl e a s on e o f th e mos t significan t ar t critic s o f hi s day Champfleury, (Jules-Antoine-Felix Husson): Realis t autho r an d ar t critic Significantl y portraye d i n The Studio. Cuenot, Urbain: Wealth y schoolmat e o f Courbet imprisone d fo r politica l activities Chaudey, Gustave: Leftis t lawye r an d journalist clos e frien d o f Proudho n wh o wa s o n committe e whic h publishe d Proudhon' s posthumou s work Considerant, Prosper-Victor: Enthusiasti c discipl e o f Fourier politician journalist Delacroix, Charles: Frenc h genera l an d brothe r o f Eugene Delacroix, Eugene: Painter bes t know n politica l work Liberty Leading the People. Fourier, Charles: Frenc h Utopia n socialist philosopher Gautier, Amand: Realis t painte r an d frien d o f Courbet Guizot, Francois: Prim e Ministe r o f Franc e an d one-tim e Ministe r o f Justic e wh o was responsibl e fo r Marx' s expulsio n fro m France Lassalle, Ferdinand: Germa n socialis t write r an d activist stridentl y criticize d i n Marx' s Critique of the Gotha Program. Marat, Jean-Paul: Frenc h revolutionar y leader Metternich, Klemenz Wenzel, von: Austria n diplomat significan t facto r a t th e Congres s o f Vienna Saint-Simon, Henri de: Frenc h socialis t philosopher 12 0

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Toubain, Charles: Frenc h write r an d co-publisher alon g wit h Baudelair e an d Champfleur y o f shor t live d radica l newspape r Salut Public.

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WORK S CONSULTE D Boime Albert Art and the French Commune: Imagining Paris After War and Revolution. Princeton : Princeto n Universit y Press 1995 Berlin Isaiah Karl Marx: His Life and Environment. Oxford : Oxfor d Universit y Press 1996 Bock-Weiss Catherine C "Letter s o f Wel l Know n Artists. Art Journal. 5 2 no 2 Romanticis m (Summe r 1993) : 97-99 101 Bowness Alan "Courbet' s Proudhon. The Burlington Magazine 120.90 0 (Marc h 1978) : 123-130 Burrow J.W The Crisis of Reason: European Thought, 1848-1914. Ne w Haven/London : Yal e Universit y Press 2000 Cannon Ald a an d Fran k Anderso n Trapp "Castagnary' s A Ple a fo r a Dea d Friend (1882 ) Gustav e Courbe t an d th e Destructio n o f th e Vendom e Column. The Massachusetts Review 12 no 3 (Summe r 1971) : 498-512 Chang Ting "Rewritin g Courbet : Silvestre Courbet an d th e Braya s Collectio n afte r th e Pari s Commune. Oxford Art Journal 21 no 1 (1998) : 105-120 Christiansen Rupert Paris Babylon: The Story of the Paris Commune. Ne w York : Pengui n Books 1996 Chu Petr a ten-Doesschate. trans. ed Letters of Gustave Courbet. Chicago/London : Th e Universit y o f Chicag o Press 1992 —"Courbet' s Las t Drawing? Master Drawings 12 no 4 (Winte r 1974) : 390-392 —The Most Arrogant Man in France: Gustave Courbet and the Nineteenth Century Media Culture. Princeton/Oxford : Princeto n Universit y Press 2007 — Correspondanc e de Courbet. Paris : Flammarion 1996 Clark T.J Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution. Berkeley : Universit y o f Californi a Press 1973 — Th e Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers Revise d Edition Princeton : Princeto n Universit y Press 1999 Courbet Gustave "Defense d e Gustav e Courbe t pa r lui-meme. L'Acutalite' de I'histoire 3 0 (Ja n Ma r 1960) : 27-37 12 2

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Crapo Pau l B "Disjunctur e o n th e Left : Proudhon Courbe t an d th e Antwer p Congres s o f 1861. Art History 14 no 1 (Marc h 1991) : 67-91 —"Th e Problematic s o f Artisti c Patronag e unde r th e Secon d Empire : Gustav e Courbet' s Involve d Relations Zeitschriftfur Kunstgeschichte 5 8 Bd H 2 (1995) : 240-261 D e Courson Barbara "Martyr s o f th e Pari s Commune. The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol 4 (1908) : 1 2 Jun 201 0 www.newadvent.or g Drel l Reck Rima The French Review 64 no 5 (Apr 1991) : 859-860 Eastman Max ed Capital, The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings by Karl Marx. Ne w York : Th e Moder n Library 1959 Faunce Sarah The Burlington Magazine 135 no. 108 0 (Ma r 1973) : 225-226 Fetridge W Pembroke The Rise and Fall of the Paris Commune in 1871; With a Full Account of the Bombardment, Capture, and Burning of the City. Ne w York : Harpe r an d Brothers Publishers 1871 Frayling Christopher The Burlington Magazine 124 no 95 3 (Aug 1982) : 515-516 Fried Michael "Th e Structur e o f Beholdin g i n Courbet' s Burial at Ornans. Critical Inquiry. 9, no 4 (Ju n 1983) : 635-683 —"Painte r int o Painting : O n Courbet' s After Dinner a Ornans an d Stonebreakers." Critical Inquiry 8 no 4 (Summe r 1982) : 619-649 — Courbet's Realism. Chicag o an d London : Th e Universit y o f Chicag o Press 1992 Frohock W.M "Traum a an d Recoil : Th e Intellectuals. The Masssachusetts Review 12 no 3 (Summe r 1971) : 528-533 Galitz Kathry n Calley "Gustav e Courbe t (1819-1877)" Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Ne w York : Th e Metropolita n Museu m o f Art www.metmuseum.or g Hartt Frederick Art: A History of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, vol 2 Englewoo d Cliff s an d New York : Prentice-Hal l an d Harr y N Abrams 1976 Home Alistair The Fall of Paris: The Siege and the Commune 1870-71. London : Pengui n Books 1997 Hungerford Constanc e Cain "Meissonier' s Souveni r d e querr e civile. The Art Bulletin 6 1 no 2 (June 1979) : 277-288 Hyams Edward Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Revolutionary Life, Mind and Works. London : Joh n Murray 1979 12 3

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Jenkins Keith Rethinking History. Abingdon/Ne w York : Routledg e Classics 2003 Katz Phili p Mark "Americanizin g th e Pari s Commune 1861-1877. Ph D diss. Princeto n University 1994 Kimball Roger Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Our Higher Education. Chicago : Iva n R Dee 2008 L e Men Segolene Courbet. Ne w York/London : Abbevill e Pres s Publishers 2007 Lindsay Jack Gustave Courbet: His Life and Art. London : Jupite r Books 1977 Mack Gerstle Gustave Courbet. Ne w York : D a Cap o Press 1951 Marx Karl Kar l Mar x t o Pierre-Josep h Proudhon Ma y 5 1846 Th e Marxis t Interne t Archiv e www.marxists.or g Mercer Colin "Publi c Subject s an d Subjec t Publics. Social History 9 no 3 (Oct. 1984) : 361-368 Metropolita n Museu m o f Art Gustave Courbet. Ne w York : Metropolita n Museu m o f Art 2008 Nochlin Linda "Gustav e Courbet' s Meeting : a Portrai t o f th e Artis t a s a Wanderin g Jew. The Art Bulletin 49 no 3 (Sept 1967) : 209-222 —"Courbet' s 'L'origin e d u monde' : Th e Origi n withou t a n Original. October 31 (Summe r 1986) : 76-86 —"Th e De-Politicizatio n o f Gustav e Courbet : Transformatio n an d Rehabilitatio n unde r th e Thir d Republic. October 2 2 (Autum n 1982) : 64-78 Proudhon Pierre-Joseph The Evolution of Capitalism, The Philosophy of Misery. Charleston : Forgotte n Books 2008 (Orig pub 1847. ) — Wha t Is Property? An Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of Government. Trans Benj R Tucker Princeton Mass : Benj R Tucker 1876 —Pierre-Josep h Proudho n t o Kar l Marx Ma y 17 1846 Th e Marxist s Interne t Archiv e www.marxists.or g Przyblski Jeannene M "Courbet th e Commune an d th e Meaning s o f Stil l Lif e i n 1871. Art Journal 55 no 2 (Summer 1996) : 28-37 Psichari Henrietta "Frenc h Writer s an d th e Commune. The Massachusetts Review 12 no. 3 (Summe r 1971) : 534-540 Raddatz Frit z J. trans Osers Ewald ed Karl Marx Friedrich Engels: Selected 12 4

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Letters. Boston/Toronto : Little Brow n an d Company 1981 Raser Timothy The French Review 67 no 6 Specia l Issu e o n Quebe c (Ma y 1994) : 1090-1091 Rubin Jame s Henry Realism and Social Vision in Courbet and Proudhon. Princeton : Princeto n Universit y Press 1980 Seigel Jerrold "Ambition Commitment an d Subversio n i n Courbet' s Realism. Modern Intellectual History 5 no 2 (2008) : 389-398 Sheon Aaron Art Journal 39 no 2 (Winte r 1979-1980) : 143-145 Simpson William an d Marti n Jones Europe 1783-1914, Secon d Edition London/Ne w York : Routledge 2009 Stewart Jean. trans. ed Eugene Delacroix: Selected letters 1813-1863. Boston : MF A Publications 1970 Tombs Robert The Paris Commune 1871. Ne w York : Pearso n Education 1999 Tucker Robert ed The Marx Engels Reader. Ne w York : W.W Norto n an d Company 1978 —The Eighteenth Brumaire of Luis Bonaparte —The Civil War in France —The Class struggles in France, 1848-1850 -—The Possibility ofNon Violent Revolution —The Manifesto of the Communist Party (with F. Engels) Wagner Ann e M "Courbet' s Landscape s an d thei r Market. Art History 4 no 4 (Decembe r 1981) : 411-431 Weisberg Gabriel The Art Bulletin 60 no 2 (Ju n 1978) : 376-378 Wheen Francis Karl Marx: A Life. Ne w York/London : W.W Norto n an d Company 2001 Woodcock George Pierre-Joseph Proudhon: His Life and Work. Ne w York : Schocke n books 1972 12 5