In style, scale, and composition, this work strongly resembles Courbet’s first hunting scene, The Quarry, a great success at the Salon of 1857 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). The present canvas is distinguished by the assortment of dead game, including a wild boar, a partridge, a deer, and a hare, a presentation recalling precedents in seventeenth-century Flemish painting. An avid sportsman, Courbet ultimately devoted some eighty pictures to subject of the hunt.
Inscription: Signed (lower left): G. Courbet.
?[Cottier and Co., New York, until 1910; sold to Havemeyer]; Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer, New York (1910–d. 1929; cat., 1931, pp. 84–85, ill.)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Loan Exhibition of the Works of Gustave Courbet," April 7–May 18, 1919, no. 14 (lent anonymously).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The H. O. Havemeyer Collection," March 10–November 2, 1930, no. 35 [2nd ed., 1958, no. 78].
Baltimore Museum of Art. "An Exhibition of Paintings by Courbet," May 3–29, 1938, no. 4.
New York. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "A Loan Exhibition of Gustave Courbet," December 2, 1948–January 8, 1949, no. 15.
Venice. Biennale. "XXVII Biennale di Venezia: J. D. Gustave Courbet," June 19–October 17, 1954, no. 22 (as "Dopo la caccia").
Musée de Lyon. "Courbet," November 1–December 31, 1954, no. 27 (as "Après la chasse").
Paris. Petit Palais. "G. Courbet," January 12–February 28, 1955, no. 50.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Corot and His Contemporaries," May 8–June 21, 1959, unnumbered cat.
New York. IBM Gallery. "Sport in Art from American Museums," January 14–March 28, 1992, not in catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27–June 20, 1993, no. A131.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Gustave Courbet," February 27–May 18, 2008, no. 194.
Frank Jewett Mather Jr. "The Havemeyer Pictures." The Arts 16 (March 1930), pp. 442, 477, ill., finds it dated and of interest only as a historical document.
An Exhibition of Paintings by Courbet. Exh. cat., Baltimore Museum of Art. Baltimore, 1938, unpaginated, no. 4, ill., dates it "probably between 1855 and 1860".
V. Visson and Daniel Wildenstein. A Loan Exhibition of Gustave Courbet. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. New York, 1948, p. 42, no. 15, dates it 1857–60.
Adriana Albini. Courbet alla XXVII Biennale di Venezia. Exh. cat., Biennale. Venice, 1954, unpaginated, ill., dates it about 1863.
Germain Bazin. XXVII Biennale di Venezia: J. D. Gustave Courbet. Exh. cat., Biennale. Venice, 1954, p. 155, no. 22, pl. 48, dates it about 1863.
Edmund B. Nielsen. Corot and His Contemporaries. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Houston, 1959, unpaginated, dates it about 1863; sees the influence of Corot, Rousseau, and the Barbizon School in this work.
Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. New York, 1961, p. 194.
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 2, XIX Century. New York, 1966, pp. 117–18, ill., relate this picture to "The Quarry" (F188; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston).
Bruce K. MacDonald. "The Quarry by Gustave Courbet." Bulletin of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 67, no. 348 (1969), p. 69 n. 17, believes that the vertical seam in this work served only to create a larger canvas than was commercially available, and does not indicate later additions to the composition.
Robert Fernier. La vie et l'oeuvre de Gustave Courbet. Vol. 1, Peintures, 1819–1865. Lausanne, 1977, p. 198–99, no. 342, ill., states that it was probably painted in Saintonge in 1863; erroneously states that it belonged to Phoedora Gaudin and was lent to an exhibition in Bordeaux in 1863 [see Notes].
Pierre Courthion. L'opera completa di Courbet. Milan, 1985, p. 92, no. 331, ill. and colorpl. XVII, dates it 1863.
Sarah Faunce and Linda Nochlin. Courbet Reconsidered. Exh. cat., Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn, 1988, pp. 134, 136–37, no. 33, ill. (color), dates it about 1859; erroneously states that it belonged to Etienne Baudry and was lent to exhibitions in Saintes and Bordeaux in 1863 [see Notes].
Margaret Robinson. Courbet's Hunt Scenes: The End of a Tradition. Providence, 1990, p. 1, dates it about 1857.
Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. Ed. Susan Alyson Stein. 3rd ed. [1st ed. 1930, repr. 1961]. New York, 1993, pp. 194, 330 n. 273.
Susan Alyson Stein inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 255, colorpl. 252, dates it 1863; identifies this picture as one purchased by Mrs. Havemeyer from Cottier and Co. in 1910, citing a September 10, 1910 letter from Cottier.
Gretchen Wold inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 313–14, no. A131, ill., dates it 1863.
James H. Rubin. Courbet. London, 1997, pp. 234–35, suggests that the growling hound may have been "paraphrased" from Flemish game-piece masters Jan Fyt or Frans Snyders.
Kathryn Calley Galitz inMasterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 54, 234, no. 51, ill. (color and black and white).
Laurence des Cars inGustave Courbet. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2008, pp. 393–94, no. 194, ill. (color) [French ed., Paris, 2007], erroneously lists Étienne Baudry in the provenance and states that it was exhibited in Saintes and Bordeaux in 1863 [continuing the confusion of this picture with "Rustic Hunters" in the Musée Courbet, Ornans; see Notes].
Dominique Lobstein inGustave Courbet. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2008, p. 436 [French ed., Paris, 2007], erroneously states that this work was exhibited in Bordeaux in 1863, but correctly identifies the one exhibited in Saintes 1863 as the Ornans picture [see Notes].
Katherine Nahum inCourbet: Mapping Realism; Paintings from the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and American Collections. Ed. Jeffery Howe. Exh. cat., McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College. Chestnut Hill, Mass., 2013, p. 71, fig. 4, states that it "retains the major features of 'The Quarry''s composition, but none of its depth of meaning," and characterizes the inclusion of more than two kinds of game as "indecorous and inappropriate" for a hunt scene.
This work is often confused with Retour de la chasse or Les Chasseurs rustiques in the Musée Courbet, Ornans (F222), which was owned by Étienne Baudry and exhibited in Saintes and Bordeaux in 1863 as "Retour de chasse" (see Fernier 1977, Faunce 1988, Cars 2008, and Lobstein 2008). Roger Bonniot, Gustave Courbet en Saintonge, Paris, 1973, pp. 246–47, 273, pl. 55, reproduces the catalogue of the Saintes exhibition and cites exhibition reviews describing a picture of two horsemen and their dogs, a clear reference to the Ornans picture. Bonniot further identifies this as the same work exhibited in Bordeaux.