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San Francisco, California, United States

Friday, July 31, 2015

No Olympia

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot
Bacchante by the Sea
1865
Metropolitan Museum
(gift of Louisine Havemeyer)

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot
Bacchante in Landscape
c. 1865-70
Metropolitan Museum
(gift of Louisine Havemeyer)

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot
The Letter
c. 1865
Metropolitan Museum
(gift of Louisine Havemeyer)

The figure paintings above were made in the middle of the 19th century in France by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875). The figure paintings below were made in the middle of the 19th century in France by Gustave Courbet (1819-1877). The owner of all these pictures was Louisine Havemeyer of New York. In her memoir From Sixteen to Sixty Mrs. Havemeyer explains why she pursued figure-paintings by these contemporary artists at a time when her friends and fellow collectors all preferred their depopulated landscapes. In some cases Mrs. Havemeyer's tycoon-husband would not permit the nudes to be hung at home where their daughters could see them and insisted that they be sent instead straight to the Metropolitan Museum without even a stop-off at the mansion on 5th Avenue. In the book, Mrs. Havemeyer further claims that she had the chance to buy Manet's Olympia (the most scandalous painting of the European 19th century)  and that she desperately wanted to  but Mr. Havemeyer absolutely put his foot down and prevented her.      

Gustave Courbet
Young Bather
1866
Metropolitan Museum
(gift of Louisine Havemeyer)

Gustave Courbet
The Source
1862
Metropolitan Museum
(gift of Louisine Havemeyer)

Gustave Courbet
Madame Auguste Cuoq
c. 1852-57
Metropolitan Museum
(gift of Louisine Havemeyer)