Hunting Dogs with Dead Hare, 1857
Gustave Courbet (French, 1819–1877)
Oil on canvas; 36 1/2 x 58 1/2 in. (92.7 x 148.6 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Gift of Horace Havemeyer, 1933 (33.77)
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.