Letters of Gustave Courbet

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The French Realist painter Gustave Courbet (1819-77), a pivotal figure in the emergence of modern painting, remains an artist whose interests, attitudes, and friendships are little understood. A voluminous correspondent, Courbet himself, through his letters, offers a tantalizing avenue toward a keener assessment of his character and accomplishments. In her critical edition of over six hundred of the artist's letters, Petra ten-Doesschate Chu presents just such a look at the inner life of the artist; her ...

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Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. 1992 Hardcover New 0226116530. Pp extensively illustrated in color----IMPORTANT: Interior text is clean, tight, and Unmarked Pages are intact and tight ... to the spine. --The correspondence of 19th C. French realist artist Gustave Courbet. Courbet "was perhaps the first painter of genre subjects to become the acknowledged leader of a major school. By giving everyday scenes a monumental treatment, he helped to break down the traditional hierarchy of subject matter, giving an increased emphasis to purely formal values in painting. His example had a great influence on the impressionists (see impressionism) and, through them, on 20th-century art. " Donald Rosenthal, Curator of Collections, Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester, Read more Show Less

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Overview

The French Realist painter Gustave Courbet (1819-77), a pivotal figure in the emergence of modern painting, remains an artist whose interests, attitudes, and friendships are little understood. A voluminous correspondent, Courbet himself, through his letters, offers a tantalizing avenue toward a keener assessment of his character and accomplishments. In her critical edition of over six hundred of the artist's letters, Petra ten-Doesschate Chu presents just such a look at the inner life of the artist; her unparalleled feat of gathering together all of Courbet's known letters, many heretofore unpublished and untranslated,
is sure to change our evaluation of Courbet's creativity and of his place in nineteenth-century French life.
Beginning when Courbet left his provincial home at eighteen and ending eight days before his death in exile in
Switzerland, this correspondence enables readers to follow the artist's development from youth to mature artist of international repute. Addressed to correspondents such as the poet Charles Baudelaire, the painter Claude Monet, the writers Champfleury, Victor Hugo, and Théeophile Gautier,
the political theorist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, and the politician Jules Simon, the letters offer numerous insights into Courbet's life and art as well as the cultural and political activity of his day. In fascinating detail, they present the artist's relation to the contemporary media, his deliberate choice of subject matter for Salon paintings, his preoccupation with photography, and his participation in the
Commune.

Besides collecting, translating, and annotating the letters, Chu provides an introduction, a chronology,
biographies of persons appearing frequently in the letters,
and a list of paintings and sculptures mentioned in the letters. Her work is an essential resource of immediate use to historians of art and culture, political and social historians, and readers of biography.

Petra ten-Doesschate Chu is professor and head of the
Department of Art and Music at Seton Hall University.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Containing all of Gustave Courbet's 1819-1877 known letters--more than 600--this massive volume explodes the notion of the artist as a naive provincial, an image he himself constructed and carefully nurtured. Full of pithy remarks, colorful descriptions and cultural allusions, the correspondence reveals the French realist painter as an ambitious self-promoter who craved material success and was keenly aware of the artist's precarious status in a market-driven economy. Among Courbet's correspondents were Baudelaire, Monet, Hugo and anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Reflecting his development from spoiled teenager to symbol of political resistance, these energetic, offhand letters express Courbet's defiance of authority in all forms, his hatred of imperialism, his tweaking of the art establishment, participation in the Paris Commune, tragic decline and his death in exile in Switzerland. Chu, an art history professor at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, accompanies the letters with 40 halftones. Mar.
Booknews
The French Realist painter Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), a pivotal figure in the emergence of modern painting, remains an artist whose interests, attitudes, and friendships are little understood--but a little better than before thanks to translator-editor Petra ten- Doesschate Chu's critical edition of all of Courbet's known letters (over 600, many previously unpublished and untranslated), beginning when he left his provincial home at 18, and ending eight days before his death in exile in Switzerland. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226116532
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1992
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 733
  • Product dimensions: 6.63 (w) x 9.38 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Editorial Principles
Introduction
The Letters
Chronology
Correspondents and Persons Frequently Mentioned
Works Mentioned in the Letters and Notes
Chronological Inventory of Letters
References
General Index
Index of Courbet's Works

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