After the Hunt, ca. 1859
Gustave Courbet (French, 1819–1877)
Oil on canvas; 93 x 73 1/4 in. (236.2 x 186.1 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.61)
At the Salon of 1857, Courbet exhibited a large painting, The Quarry (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), whose critical and popular success prompted him to paint a series of hunting scenes, which were sought after by collectors. In these works, Courbet drew from his own experiences as a sportsman, exploring the relationship between man and nature as embodied in the act of hunting. After the Hunt features an incongruous assortment of dead game, including a wild boar, a partridge, a deer, and a hare, an array that could not have been the product of a single day's hunt. Such deliberate artifice is at odds with the artist's avowed realism.