F. van den Berghen. "Exposition d'Anvers." L'Artiste, 7ème sér., 5 (September 5, 1858), pp. 4–5, in a review of Exh. Antwerp 1858, calls this picture "le plus fort de toute la galerie".
Camille Lemonnier. G. Courbet et son oeuvre. Paris, , p. 72 [reprinted in Lemonnier, "Les Peintres de la vie," 1888, pp. 49–50], describes a portrait in Exh. Brussels 1878 of a woman "affublée d'une laideur sentimentale et pincée" [probably this picture]
probably this work.
J. Krexpel. "L'exposition des portraits des maîtres du siècle, à Bruxelles." La Revue blanche, série 3, 2 (May 1890), p. 57, as a portrait of Madame Bayer [sic].
H[arry]. B. W[ehle]. "Loan Exhibition of Modern French Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (May 1921), p. 94, notes that this work was painted during Courbet's stay in Brussels in 1858, and quotes Duret's opinion of it as "perhaps the most successful that Courbet ever painted".
Charles Léger. Courbet. Paris, 1929, p. 74.
Harry B. Wehle. "The Exhibition of the H. O. Havemeyer Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 25 (March 1930), p. 55.
H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, pp. 90–91, ill., calls it "Portrait of Madame de Brayer".
Charles Sterling in Chefs d'œuvre de l'art français. Exh. cat., Palais National des Arts. Paris, 1937, p. 140, no. 278.
Charles Léger. Courbet et son temps (Lettres et documents inédits). Paris, 1948, pp. 66, 192, 196, quotes a letter from Mrs. Havemeyer to Théodore Duret, in which she mentions this picture without identifying the sitter.
Gerstle Mack. Gustave Courbet. New York, 1951, p. 150.
Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. New York, 1961, p. 188, describes seeing the picture in a private collection in Brussels, and notes Duret's and Degas' high opinions of it.
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. 118–19, ill.
Robert Fernier. "Peintures, 1819–1865." La vie et l'oeuvre de Gustave Courbet. 1, Lausanne, 1977, pp. 144–45, no. 232, ill., calls it "Portrait de Mme de Brayer, dite l'exilée polonaise".
Hélène Toussaint in Gustave Courbet, 1819–1877. Exh. cat., Grand Palais, Paris. London, 1978, pp. 133–34, no. 53, ill. [French ed., 1977, p. 148, no. 56, ill.], considers it "one of Courbet's finest portraits, recalling Bronzino and the noble portraitists of the Renaissance".
Pierre Courthion. L'opera completa di Courbet. Milan, 1985, p. 85–86, no. 224, ill.
Frances Weitzenhoffer. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986, pp. 178, 180, 245, 257, pl. 137, describes the Havemeyers' acquisition of this picture during a trip to Brussels with Mary Cassatt and Théodore Duret in 1907.
Ann Dumas in Sarah Faunce and Linda Nochlin. Courbet Reconsidered. Exh. cat., Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn, 1988, pp. 132–33, no. 31, ill. (color).
Klaus Herding. Courbet: To Venture Independence. New Haven, 1991, p. 243 n. 49, suggests it is probably Courbet's earliest use of a planar, non-objective background color.
Gustave Courbet. Letters of Gustave Courbet. Chicago, 1992, pp. 158, 160 n. 2, reprints a letter of Courbet's to his father, which she dates 1858, suggesting that his reference to painting two portraits while in Brussels includes this work.
Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. 3rd ed. [1st ed. 1930, repr. 1961]. New York, 1993, pp. 188, 202, 329 n. 261.
Susan Alyson Stein in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 246, 278, pl. 244.
Gary Tinterow in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 24.
Gretchen Wold in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 312, no. A129, ill. p. 313.
Jörg Zutter in Courbet: Artiste et promoteur de son œuvre. Exh. cat., Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne. Paris, 1998, pp. 20, 30, 132, no. 11, colorpl. 71, remarks on the use of a balustrade to separate the interior from the exterior; observes that, despite the title, the identity of the sitter is unknown, but suggests that the black dress, hair brooch, and seriousness of the sitter allude to her widowhood.
Rebecca A. Rabinow. "Modern Art Comes to the Metropolitan: The 1921 Exhibition of 'Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings'." Apollo 152 (October 2000), p. 10.
Valérie Bajou. Courbet. Paris, 2003, pp. 316–17, ill. (color), questions the identity of the sitter as Madame de Brayer, in spite of the picture's title, and remarks that the model is unknown.
Kathryn Calley Galitz in Masterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 57, 233–34, no. 54, ill. (color and black and white).
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. 45, 199, no. 25, ill. (color and black and white).
Kathryn Calley Galitz in Gustave Courbet. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. New York, 2008, pp. 149, 306–7, no. 141, ill. (color) [French ed., Paris, 2007].