In the 1860s Courbet painted a series of snowscapes remarkable for their variegated paint handling and the contrast between ruddy browns and whites, which are often, as here, mixed with an icy blue. The deer that appear in a number of these works signify the remoteness of the settings, although man’s presence is often suggested: the buck in this picture seems to look directly back at the viewer.
Inscription: Signed (lower left): G· Courbet·
Jean-Baptiste Faure, Paris (until 1893; sold on January 9 for Fr 3,000 to Durand-Ruel); [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1893–95; stock no. 2583; sold on September 19, 1895, for Fr 7,000 to Havemeyer]; Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, New York (1895–his d.1907); Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer, New York (1907–d. 1929; cat., 1931, p. 88, ill.); her son, Horace Havemeyer, New York (1929)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The H. O. Havemeyer Collection," March 11–November 2, 1930, no. 39 [as "Deer"; 2nd ed., 1958, no. 83].
Lexington. University Art Gallery, University of Kentucky. "The Nineteenth-Century Landscape," October 16–November 16, 1955, no catalogue.
Corning Museum of Glass. "The Deerslayers," September 29–November 18, 1956, not in brochure.
New York. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "Paris — New York, A Continuing Romance," November 3–December 17, 1977, no. 60.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27–June 20, 1993, no. A144.
Arsène Alexandre. "La Collection Havemeyer: Courbet et Corot." La Renaissance 12 (June 1929), p. 279, ill. p. 275, as "Les Biches".
Harry B. Wehle. "The Exhibition of the H. O. Havemeyer Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 25 (March 1930), p. 55.
R. H. Wile[n]ski. French Painting. Boston, 1931, p. 224.
H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, p. 88, ill., calls it "Landscape—Deer".
Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. New York, 1961, p. 195, calls it one of her "minor Courbets".
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 2, XIX Century. New York, 1966, pp. 119–20, ill., note that it closely resembles "Deer in the Snow" (1861;private collection, Italy; F280).
Anthea Callen. "Jean-Baptiste Faure, 1830–1914: A Study of a Patron and Collector of the Impressionists and their Contemporaries." Master's thesis, University of Leicester, 1971, p. 144, no. 157, as "Les Biches".
Robert Fernier. La vie et l'oeuvre de Gustave Courbet. Vol. 1, Peintures, 1819–1865. Lausanne, 1977, p. 262, no. 489, ill. p. 263, calls it "Cerf et biche" and dates it about 1865.
Frances Weitzenhoffer. "The Creation of the Havemeyer Collection, 1875–1900." PhD diss., City University of New York, 1982, pp. 241–42, fig. 79.
Pierre Courthion. L'opera completa di Courbet. Milan, 1985, pp. 88–89, 102, nos. 279, 508, ill., erroneously lists and illustrates this painting twice, dating it about 1861 and about 1865.
Frances Weitzenhoffer. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986, p. 107, pl. 61, lists it among works bought from Durand-Ruel on September 19, 1895.
Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. Ed. Susan Alyson Stein. 3rd ed. [1st ed. 1930, repr. 1961]. New York, 1993, pp. 195, 330 n. 275.
Susan Alyson Stein inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 219, 286.
Gary Tinterow inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 53 n. 68.
Gretchen Wold inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 317, no. A144, ill. p. 316.
The trees and rocky outcropping that shelter the deer also appear in Deer in the Snow, a painting of 1861 (24 x 30 in. [61 x 76 cm]; Fernier 1977, no. 280, as private collection). In both works the deer are the same scale relative to the setting, but their poses differ.