The distinctive receding hairline and full lips suggest that the sitter for this informal portrait may be the dealer Jules Luquet, a supporter and friend of Courbet’s beginning in the 1860s. In size, composition, and handling, the picture is similar to the artist’s 1862 portrait of the painter Auguste Fajon (Musée Fabre, Montpellier), and it probably dates to about the same time. Courbet seems to have favored the format for depictions of people he knew well. A more loosely painted canvas in a Swiss private collection has been identified as a study for the present work.
Inscription: Signed (lower left): G·Courbet·
[Félix Gérard, père, Paris, until d. 1905; his estate sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, March 28–29, 1905, no. 40, as "Portrait d'homme," for Fr 280, to Vollard]; [Ambroise Vollard, Paris, 1905; sold by September through Mary Cassatt to Havemeyer]; Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, New York (1905–his d. 1907); Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer, New York (1907–d. 1929; cat., 1931, p. 100)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The H. O. Havemeyer Collection," March 11–November 2, 1930, no. 28 (as "Head of a Man") [2nd ed., 1958, no. 87].
New York. American Federation of the Arts. "European Portraiture from the 17th to 19th Century (circulating exhibition)," September 1954–September 1957, no catalogue?
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27–June 20, 1993, no. A143.
Georges Riat. Gustave Courbet peintre. Paris, 1906, p. 387, ill. p. 222, as "Tête d'homme," formerly in the Gérard collection.
H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, p. 100, call it "Portrait of a Man".
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, p. 121, ill., suggest it resembles a portrait of Courbet's friend Pierre Auguste Fajon (1862; Musée Fabre, Montpellier; F296), and propose a similar or slightly earlier date.
Robert Fernier. "Un ami de Courbet, M. Luquet." Les amis de Gustave Courbet bulletin no. 45 (1971), pp. 39–40, ill., suggests it may well be a portrait of the collector and dealer [Jules] Luquet.
Robert Fernier. La vie et l'oeuvre de Gustave Courbet. Vol. 1, Peintures, 1819–1865. Lausanne, 1977, p. 244, no. 445, ill. p. 245, calls it "Portrait d'homme, M. Luquet?"; suggests it may represent the dealer Jules Luquet, dates it 1865, and lists a painting in a Swiss private collection (no. 448) as a study for this portrait.
Pierre Courthion. L'opera completa di Courbet. Milan, 1985, p. 99, no. 430, ill. p. 97.
Frances Weitzenhoffer. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986, p. 167, pl. 129, dates it 1865 and states that the Havemeyers acquired this picture from Vollard in 1905, with Mary Cassatt serving as intermediary.
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. 295, 346 n. 477.
Susan Alyson Stein inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 239, 285, pl. 237, dates it 1865.
Gary Tinterow inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 23–24.
Gretchen Wold inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 317, no. A143, ill. p. 316.