To be included in the Courbet catalogue raisonné by Jean-Jacques Fernier, to be published by the Fondation Wildenstein.
To be included in Sarah Faunce's Courbet catalogue raisonné.
Painted circa 1871-72, the present work dates from the period of Courbet's incarceration in the Sainte-Pélagie prison in Paris, as punishment for his involvement in the Paris Commune. In his expertise on the work, Jean-Jacques Fernier speculates that although dated 1871, it may in fact have been painted on Courbet's release in April 1872, its spontaneous execution on an unprepared panel bearing witness to his imprisonment.
The panel is flat and even. There is a 4cm vertical surface scratch at the left side of the upper edge (visible in the catalogue illustration) of which the upper 2cms may form a slight old split in the panel. On very close examination there are 2 other faint vertical lines on the surface on the left side but these do not appear to correspond to anything structural. There is a thick old yellowed varnish obscuring an accurate reading of the work under UV light, however there are a few areas that fluoresce darkly, notably a spot in the upper right between the signature and the peaches and on the right framing edge, which could be retouchings addressing paint losses. The signature fluoresces slightly however as the signature is incised into the paint, which could only have been done when the paint surface was wet, any fluorescence is probably from flaking varnish or slight heightening of the signature. There are some pinhead-sized spots of paint loss in the foreground. The surface is dirty and the varnish discoloured. Overall this work is in good original condition and would benefit from a light clean.
Held in a simple black wooden frame with a gilt slip.
The colours are fairly accurate in the printed catalogue however the work has overall slightly less red in reality. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."