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Hunting Dogs with Dead Hare

Gustave Courbet (French, Ornans 1819–1877 La Tour-de-Peilz)

Date:
1857
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
36 1/2 x 58 1/2 in. (92.7 x 148.6 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Gift of Horace Havemeyer, 1933
Accession Number:
33.77
  • Gallery Label

    Courbet first exhibited hunting scenes at the Paris Salon of 1857. One of these, "The Quarry" (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), elicited critical acclaim for its "marvelous fidelity" to nature, and it was hailed as the artist's "best painting to date." In the present painting, Courbet repeated the motif of the two hunting dogs from the foreground of "The Quarry" and inserted a hare in place of that picture's dead stag.

    This work is possibly the painting described in a letter written by the young German painter Otto Scholderer (1834–1902), whose studio was above the one that Courbet rented during his stay in Frankfurt in the winter of 1858–59. Scholderer observed that, while the two dogs and the landscape were painted from memory, the hare was modeled from life.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed (lower right): G. Courbet.

  • Provenance

    [Brame, Paris, until 1892; sold on June 23 for Fr 12,000 to Durand-Ruel]; [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1892; stock no. 2334; sold on September 26 for Fr 40,000 to Durand-Ruel]; [Durand-Ruel, New York, 1892; sold to Havemeyer]; Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, New York (1892–his d.1907); Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer, New York (1907–d. 1929; cat., 1931, pp. 352–53, ill.); her son, Horace Havemeyer, New York (1929–33)

  • Exhibition History

    Paris. Champ-de-Mars. "Exposition universelle de 1867," 1867, no. 171 (as "Le lièvre forcé," probably this picture).

    Brussels. Cercle Artistique et Littéraire. "14 tableaux de Gustave Courbet exposés appartenant à des collectionneurs belges," 1878 [see Lemonnier 1878].

    Chicago. World's Fair. "World's Columbian Exhibition: Fine Arts," May 1–October 26, 1893, no. 2898 (as "Dogs and Hare," lent by Henry O. Havemeyer).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Loan Exhibition of the Works of Gustave Courbet," April 7–May 18, 1919, no. 7 (as "Hunting Dogs," lent anonymously).

    Tulsa. Philbrook Art Center. "Animals in Art," October 3–December 4, 1944, no. 11 (as "Hunting Dogs").

    "Canadian National Exhibition," August 26–September 10, 1949, no. 36 (as "Hunting Dogs").

    Nashville. Fisk University Museum of Art. "100 Years of European Painting," April 28–June 10, 1965, unnum. checklist.

    Naples. Museo di Capodimonte. "Capolavori Impressionisti dei Musei Americani," December 3, 1986–February 1, 1987, no. 12 (as "Cani da caccia").

    Milan. Pinacoteca di Brera. "Capolavori Impressionisti dei Musei Americani," March 4–May 10, 1987, no. 12.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27–June 20, 1993, no. A128 (as "Hunting Dogs").

    Paris. Musée d'Orsay. "La collection Havemeyer: Quand l'Amérique découvrait l'impressionnisme...," October 20, 1997–January 18, 1998, no. 15 (as "Chiens de chasse" ou "Le lièvre forcé").

    Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 23.

    Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19.Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat.

  • References

    Otto Scholderer. Letter to Fantin-Latour. [winter 1858–59] [excerpt published in Charles Léger, "Courbet et son temps (Lettres et documents inédits)," Paris, 1948, p. 69], describes seeing a painting of two dogs with a hare in Courbet's Frankfurt studio [probably this picture]; notes that the same dogs appeared in "The Quarry" (1857; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; F188), the landscape was painted from memory, and the hare painted from life after one that Courbet purchased as a model.

    Charles Beauquier. Revue littéraire de la Franche-Comté (May 1, 1867), p. 332 [see Ref. Fernier 1978].

    Gustave Courbet. Letter to Jules Castagnary. [April] 21, [1867] [English transl. published in P. D. Chu, ed., "Letters of Gustave Courbet," Chicago, 1992, no. 67-9, p. 309], states that "Dogs with Hare" was badly placed at the Exposition Universelle.

    Gustave Courbet. Letter to Alfred Bruyas. February 18, 1867 [English transl. published in P. D. Chu, ed., "Letters of Gustave Courbet," Chicago, 1992, no. 67-4, p. 304], states that he is thinking of sending a hunting scene [probably this picture] to the Exposition Universelle.

    Gustave Courbet. Letter to Jules Castagnary. March 26, 1874 [English transl. published in P. D. Chu, ed., "Letters of Gustave Courbet," Chicago, 1992, no. 74-3, p. 525], lists "Hare Brought to Bay" [probably this painting] among several pictures stolen from his studio which he is attempting to recover.

    Gustave Courbet. Letter to Étienne Baudry. June 2, 1875 [English transl. published in P. D. Chu, ed., "Letters of Gustave Courbet," Chicago, 1992, no. 75-11, p. 551], lists "Hare Brought to Bay with Two Dogs, Undergrowth" among paintings he recalls being stored at the Durand-Ruel gallery.

    Camille Lemonnier. G. Courbet et son oeuvre. Paris, [1878], pp. 74–75 [reprinted in "Les Peintres de la vie," 1888, pp. 52–53], describes this picture in the Cercle Artistique exhibition in Brussels.

    William A. Coffin. "The Columbian Exposition—V. Fine Arts: The French Pictures and the Loan Collection." The Nation 57 (August 31, 1893), p. 152, calls it "an inferior work".

    Hubert Howe Bancroft. The Book of the Fair. 2, part 23, Chicago, 1894, p. 694, calls it "an excellent study".

    [Jules] Castagnary. "Fragments d'un livre sur Courbet (deuxième article)." Gazette des beaux-arts 6 (September 1911), ill. p. 488, as "La Meute".

    Léonce Bénédite. Courbet. Paris, [1912], pp. 77–78, pl. XXXI, as "Chiens et lièvre"; notes that the dogs are repeated from those in "The Quarry" (Boston; F188); states that it passed from Durand-Ruel to a private collection, New York.

    André Fontainas. Courbet. Paris, 1921, p. 68, as "Chiens et lièvre".

    Arsène Alexandre. "La Collection Havemeyer: Courbet et Corot." La Renaissance 12 (June 1929), p. 279, ill. p. 270, as "Chiens de chasse".

    H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, pp. 352–53, ill., calls it "Chiens de chasse".

    Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. New York, 1961, p. 194, calls it "Les chiens de chasse".

    Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. "XIX Century." French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2, New York, 1966, pp. 116–17, ill., note its distant relationship to the hunting paintings of Oudry and Desportes.

    Bruce K. MacDonald. "The Quarry by Gustave Courbet." Bulletin of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 67, no. 348 (1969), pp. 60–62, 67–68 n. 16, fig. 8, dates it 1858 or 1859; observes that the dogs and rabbit occupy different planes because they were conceived separately.

    Robert Fernier. "Peintures, 1866–1877." La vie et l'oeuvre de Gustave Courbet. 2, Lausanne, 1978, pp. 50–51, no. 620, ill., as "Le Lièvre forcé"; dates it 1867.

    Hélène Toussaint in Gustave Courbet, 1819–1877. Exh. cat., Grand Palais, Paris. London, 1978, p. 131, under no. 50 [French ed., 1977, p. 144], suggests that it may be "a repetition of a previous work, painted for a German customer".

    Pierre Courthion. L'opera completa di Courbet. Milan, 1985, p. 107, no. 602, ill., dates it 1867.

    Frances Weitzenhoffer. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986, pp. 80, 89, pl. 31, dates it 1856; states that Mr. Havemeyer chose this work from a photograph and purchased it from Durand-Ruel in summer 1892.

    Gary Tinterow et al. Capolavori impressionisti dei musei americani. Exh. cat., Museo di Capodimonte, Naples. Milan, 1987, pp. 34–35, no. 12, ill. (color).

    Douglas E. Edelson et al. in Courbet Reconsidered. Exh. cat., Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn, 1988, pp. 74–75, ill., calls it "Hunting Dogs" and dates it 1856.

    Margaret Robinson. Courbet's Hunt Scenes: The End of a Tradition. Providence, 1990, pp. 6, 21 n. 47, dates it about 1857.

    Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. 3rd ed. [1st ed. 1930, repr. 1961]. New York, 1993, pp. 194, 330 n. 272.

    Susan Alyson Stein in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 214–15, states that Joseph Durand-Ruel recommended it to the Havemeyers, with an asking price of Fr 35,000, in correspondence of July 15, 1892, and that arrangements to ship it from Paris to New York had been made by August 19.

    Gary Tinterow in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 23, states that the Havemeyers bought it "because the subjects recalled the dogs in 'The Quarry' at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston".

    Gretchen Wold in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 312, no. A128, ill. p. 313.

    Gary Tinterow in La collection Havemeyer: Quand l'Amérique découvrait l'impressionnisme. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay. Paris, 1997, pp. 18, 49–50, 104, no. 15, ill. (color), calls it "Chiens de chasse" ou "Le lièvre forcé" and dates it 1857.

    Kathryn Calley Galitz in The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 43, 199–200, no. 23, ill. (color and black and white), dates it about 1858–59.

    Laurence des Cars in Gustave Courbet. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. New York, 2008, p. 392, fig. 2 (color) [French ed., Paris, 2007], calls it "Hunting Dogs" and dates it 1858.

    Dominique Lobstein in Gustave Courbet. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. New York, 2008, p. 437 [French ed., Paris, 2007], identifies it as shown in the Exposition Universelle, 1867.



  • Notes

    A wood engraving by F. L. Meaulle after this painting is illustrated in Jean Bruno, "Les Misères des gueux," 1872, p. 128, as "Les Chiens voulant s'emparer du gibier," signed Courbet at lower left, and M at lower right.

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