1 COURBET' S EXHIBITIONISM BY PATRICIA MAINARDI e - 1 Q4' In a letter to his patron Bruyas, Courbet described his vision of the show he planned to mount for the 1855 Universal Exposition: "From here I can already see an enormous tent with a single column in the center; for walls, scaffolding covered with canvas, all mounted on a platform; then the employees, a man in a black suit minding the office, opposite the canes and umbrellas, then two or three ushers. This will really be enough to make Paris dance on its head. It will be without question the best comedy that's been played in our times; there are some people who will get sick over it, that's for sure"~. Across the letter he sketched a tent (fig. 1). In reality, as a newly discovered photograph shows (fig. 14), Courbet's pavilion was rectangular, not a tent at all, and this drawing, appearing across an unpublished letter, was a private fantasy rather than a public fact. And yet the public did apprehend his gesture, even without benefit of his drawing. On reading his letter today we might well wonder: Who would laugh at this comedy, and who would get sick over it? What was the nature of Courbet's exhibitionism"? - a word entirely relevant, as we shall see, to the contemporary discourse surrounding this artist. By placing in context the various aspects of Courbet's endeavor as they appeared to his contemporaries, we can gain a more profound sense of the reasons for which he was both praised and damned in his own time. Although the negative criticism which first greeted Courbet's work has been taken by modernists as a paradigmatic example of the persecution of the avant-garde artist by an uncomprehending public, I have argued elsewhere that Courbet in 1855 was actually supported by the professional artists' periodicals 2. La Revue universelle des Arts, La Revue des Beaux-Arts, Journal des Arts, L'Artiste, all either praised him or were sympathetic to his plight. The most savage attacks in 1855 came from critics and caricaturists working for periodicals of the conservative right, such as A.J. Du Pays and Q ulenbots in L'Olustrationj. Nonetheless, as this negative criticism ha always taken center stage, it is important to explo e the nightmare vision that Courbet presented to aest etic and political conservatives. FIG Gustave COURBET. Autograph letter with a sketch of the 1855 Pavilion.
2 254 GAZETTE DES BEAUX-ARTS Today we focus on Courbet's gesture of mounting his show and we see it as a gesture of defiance to the government that had rejected both his Studio and his Burial; indeed it was, as Champfleury wrote at the time, "an incredibly audacious act" 4. Our focus on the gesture fits in well with modem political imperatives, the heroicization of the individual standing alone against an unjust state. The issues embodied in Courbet's gesture, Individualism, Self-confidence, Defiance, Genius, are all qualities which define the modern - usually male - hero. They are also, however, qualities which define the self-made man of early capitalism, the entrepreneur. FIG Title Page, Catalogue of Courbet's 1855 Exhibition. This latterlreferent has been largely ignored by art historians, but both interpretations, defiant hero and entrepreneur, should be explored, for in the nineteenth century, they were by no means mutually exclusive. To begin to see Courbet's exhibitionism as his contemporarie''s would have seen it, we will have to understand firstl, the exhibition structure as they saw it, second, traditional exhibition sites as they understood them, and third, the decorum of exhibitions at that time, for Courbet's gesture could only assume meaning against the commonly accepted fabric of expectations and procedures. In giving the broad outlines of these issues, it trust be stressed that, although I am here focusing on the negative, contemporary opinion held various attitudes, both positive and negative, towards each. Throu0out most of the nineteenth century, the major event in I-Irench exhibition practice was the Salon, the annual, sometimes biennial, exhibition of contemporary art. Until the 1789 Revolution, it had operated as a monopoly, controlling French artistic life and careers. Only members Of the Academy could participate and alternative exhibitions were suppressed. The Academy had been founded and was maintained as the Government agency in charge of aesthetics: its members received salaries a~d studios, and State commissions were originally reserved for them. Academicians had, however, elevated their status from that of artisans by rejecting all hints f commerce and so, in the Academic Salon of the An ien R6gime, artists did not exhibit works for sale but "consented to show to a limited public some pictures commissioned in advance for a specific destination" 5.!,,Although in reality many Academicians worked inja variety of modes, this elite attitude towards art production survived well into the nineteenth century, defining o~e pole of the spectrum of attitudes towards exhibition I practice. That pole can be summed up in the word exposition; in both English and French it preserved thelconnotation of a didactic, morally instructive show. The word exhibition, on the other hand, while meaning lin English simply a show, assumed in nineteenth] century France a pejorative connotation of ostentation and immodesty. A commercial enterprise, such as a as would hibitionist hop window display, would be an exhibition, rsonal behaviour we today would label ex- This negative attitude towards anything commercial derived from traditional aristocratic disdain for corn*rce, which, in the nineteenth century, was identified ]with England, the leading commercial power among nations; hence the pejorative use of the English word exhibition 7. Needless to say, conservative critics descri not ai headi (fig. a dish Ai mono princ the P ing t( and i worl, Cour trout led i pron of e Salo ser\ whi indi peal ab den ech ass bay in() sat ha~ we do we th, to, re, si pr its w th tt n 0 l. d i
3 COURBET'S EXHIBITIONISM 25 5 described Courbet's 1855 show as an "exhibition" and not an "exposition". Courbet himself provoked this by heading his own catalogue EXHIBITION ET VENTE (fig. 2) "Exhibition and Sale", a title more fitting for a display of furniture or rugs than of high art s. After the 1789 Revolution, the Academy had lost its monopoly over the Salon, which was then opened, in principle at least, to independent artists. Nonetheless, the Academy continued to maintain that it was degrading to make a direct appeal to the public to sell pictures, and that true artists did not produce easel paintings but worked on commission for Church and State. The young Courbet made his entrance to the Salon during the troubled years of the 1840s when the Academy controlled the Salon Jury, rejecting works by artists even as prominent as Delacroix. By the 1848 Revolution, out of eighteen paintings Courbet had submitted to the Salon, only two had been accepted. The 1830s and 1840s were the years in which conservatives began to criticize the Salon in language which continued throughout the century as an infallible indicator of conservative politica 9. Ingres stated repeatedly: "The Salon is no longer anything more than a bazaar, where mediocrity displays itself with impudence" i0. E.J. Delecluze, the leading conservative critic, echoed his sentiments: "The Salons in the Louvre have assumed, more and more each year, the character of a bazaar, where each merchant is obliged to present the most varied and bizarre objects in order to provoke and satisfy the fantasies of his customers" Il. Art historians have largely ignored the significance of these code words: exhibition, market, picture shop, bazaar (exhibition, marche, boutique de tableaux, bazar) pejorative words never used by critics supportive of what we call the avant-garde. Conservatives believed that art was inherently aristocratic and elitist and that, under a democratic political regime, mediocrity would reign. Education, they insisted, was the only legitimate purpose for art, history painting its only legitimate vehicle, and Academicians its only legitimate practitioners; the habitus of such art was the church, the public monument, the museum or the aristocratic private gallery. The enemy for them was the bourgeois preference for art as decoration or as commodity. Such art, they felt, was trivial and commercial, only fit to be sold at bazaars and market places. Their language was anachronistic, however, for, as capitalism leveloped, the site of art distribution became increasngly the commercial art gallery or the auction house. through this politico-aesthetic language, of bazaars and )icture shops, of mediocrity and aristocracy, a political la do d. Yon E:poeiW~e anlyeraeile, Cooabet Re dtoeioe! lal-mama quolquaa rdeompewa Lle~ mfritfea, on prlsence rune multitude choide, compacts de M. Bra et ton ehiso. - FIG BERTALL in the Journal pour tire, 12 January system - democracy I-and an economic system - capitalism - was being criticized: Courbet, through his 1855 show, symbolized bh institutions. It is clear that the two poles of the Salon were, on the right, elevated, academic exhibition as close as possible tot the ideals of history painting and the Ancien Mgime.lOn the left there was the popular Salon, full of inde,~ ndept artists striving to appeal to p the public in order to sell their work. But if, in fact, the other pole fromithe aristocratic closed pre-revolutionary Salon was tolbe the open, somewhat democratic and independent Sal n, where does that place Courbet's pavilion? When con ervatives referred to a bazaar, they were both exaggera ing and speaking metaphorically; Courbet intentional, produced the very image of their nightmare, but not i the quaint, sentimentalizing imagery of a bygone e och, of marche and bazar, but in the contemporary wo Id of burgeoning mass culture and commercialism - thel art exhibition as store.
4 25 6 GAZETTE DES BEAUX-ARCS To place Courbet's 1855 show, we must understand how rare any individual shows were in France. The most common examples of these events were the posthumous shows organized for recently deceased Academicians and held in prestigious locations such as the Ecole itself. Galleries at this time were still picture shops displaying and selling a variety of work by a variety of artists. Artists occasionally held their own shows in their studios, as David did in 1799 and Horace Vernet in 1822, but, by being held in their studios, these shows preserved the dignity of hio art events, even when they were intended as protest t. Courbet's 1855 show has always been identified with this tradition, a protest against the Exposition Jury's refusal of his two major pictures, The Artist's Studio and A Burial at Ornans (figs. 12 and 13). And yet even before he submitted his pictures to the Jury' he had informed Nieuwerkerke, the Intendant des Beaux-Arts, that he was hoping to mount a private exhibition to compete with the Universal Ex- position, land he had dropped several hints to his patron Alfred Blruyas that such a show (which he wanted Bruyas to subsidize) was in the offing l 3. One could argue that he anticipated that his pictures would be rejected, but it must also be acknowledged that he very much wanted, from the beginning, to hold this show and to hold it on a site identified with the distribution of art and not its production, in other words, to hold it as a commercial enterprise. Indeed he had already made two previlous attempts in this direction in 1850, in Besanrgon and in Dijon, the first in a market hall, the second in mouse that also held a cafe. In both cases he had plastered the town with posters advertising his show and had charged a fifty centime admission fee t4. Riat quotes him as feeling that the peasantry of Omans had thought he was an idiot because he had let them see his works! for free, "which evidently proves it's silly to have a kind heart, for it merely deprives one of funds without enriching others in spirit or purse. To be free, peo swa so to t loc; in mu be, mo wh tale mu in art ye ins in tip ha te- B( di a fc tl a, R c V p e f I "Lis 0Z gbaid S4lltflI5 4.Tmm wjb~ W. lost I M-11 FIG J. JOURDAN, Le Palais de l'industrie, Tutgis Editeur, Paris, 1855.
5 COURBET'S EXHIBITIONISM 257 eople want to pay, so that their judgment won't be Hayed by gratitude; they are right. I want to learn and I'll be so ruthless that I'll give everyone the right tell me the most cruel truths" 15. This leads to my second point, the issue of a suitable )cation for art exhibitions. The annual Salon took place I the Louvre until 1848 when, evicted from the tuseum, it began a nomadic existence l 6. Pressure had egun to mount in the 1830s to evict it from the Louvre, Iostly coming from conservatives who felt that art,hich increasingly rejected tradition had no right to par- Ike of the elevated provenance associated with that tuseum. The Salons of 1849, , 1852, were held 1 the Tuileries and in the Palais-Royal; 1853 presented rtists with the worst disappointment of all, for that ear's Salon was held in temporary buildings surround- Ig the Imperial furniture warehouse at Menus-Plaisirs i northern Paris. During these years there was con-,nual talk of suppressing the Salon altogether; Ingres ad actually recommended such a course when he :stified before the 1848 Commission permanente des ieaux-arts: "In order to remedy this overflow of me-. iocrities, which has resulted in there no longer being French School, this banality which is a public misortune, which afflicts taste, and which overwhelms he administration whose resources it absorbs to no vail, it would be necessary to give up expositions..." 17 tumors and uncertainty ran rife through the artists' ommunity. Would there continue to be a Salon? If so, vhere would it be held? The very future of contem- >orary art seemed to be at stake during these years, so '.ourbet's carnival tent would not seem very funny to hose who feared that contemporary art might end up xactly there. Art galleries as we know them were still in their inancy in the first half of the century. In 1843 the critic.outs Peisse wrote: "Outside the Louvre there would Io Ion Rer be a Salon, there would be only picture,hops" i8. Galleries were then indeed picture shops seling, indiscriminately, art supplies, curios, and small >ictures from the lower categories of art - genre, land- :cape, still life l9. The common conservative complaint hat the Salon had become a bazaar or a picture shop,howed that, in fact, these institutions were seen as the mly alternative to the museum. So the two poles on he exhibition spectrum were the Louvre, for exposiions of educational, historical art, and the picture shop 'or exhibitions of commercially viable, decorative art. knd yet art dealers at this time were not interested in )old entrepreneurial initiatives, such as the promotion Ind marketing of a trademarked product, namely the FIG Auguste BELIN. "Sortie du Bat de 1' Opdra", Journal amu$ant, January b uf 6wt la r~iarrac qiu est tratnh pat lea labor FIG Le Monde Renverse, Pellerin Imprimeur, Epinal, 1829.
6 25 8 GAZETTE DES BEAUX-OTS Schneider who owned Le Creusot - and Courbet, the artist as' entrepreneur. No wonder, then, that the most vicious attacks on Courbet came from the right, where legitimi~m and clericalism diametrically opposed themselves to the new economic and social order. The third context concerns the decorum of exhibitions. For French conservatives, the quarrel over the commercialism of exhibitions included the question of admission fees. When David attempted to charge admission to his 1799 show, he explained in his livret that such a practice was justified to save artists from a life of poverty: "In our day, this custom is observed in England~ where it is called exhibition", he wrote 2. As late as 855, David's student and admirer E.J. De16- cluze, the most powerful conservative critic in France, wrote: ",The kind of exposition David held seemed an innovation much more extraordinary than his idea of presenti g his figures nude. The artist, having heard of exhibitions as practiced in England, where an entrance fee is demanded at the door, resolved to try this system t<dclvd ds?ndl< Tipparlisdm~.yasmmotin -_ arllunncm C7~,tiMi<le6 aabtialuk,neclaperpeasien des rab~ilal... 1 W6ird,mi <Ahrm.crt,tena,ar<',~drapabe<two<tcni s<icpartd<.b6<rdewlaill< ddepwssens!.. ytl mans< ki'6,p4e, dek i'ok m$,am,d<la mawunuu de bamard'.. :`.ilman~eadwt. ~. m pretmd mime qne cu an;manx voram de`or<d It--, Petls!... qa Uil aala Panc' I FIG GAVARNI. "Le Debardeur mile et femelle..." from Les Dibardeurs, No. 1, Aubert & Cie Imprimeur, Paris, one-artist show. Courbet, then, with his one-artist show, was an innovator of marketing techniques for art in the early capitalist period. In several letters to Bruyas, Courbet bragged about how profitable this show would be: "I'll gain 100,000 francs in one shot", he wrote, and later "I'll be considered a monster but by all predictions I'll make 100,000 francs" 20. He'll sell his livret, he writes, he'll make money on checking canes and umbrellas, he's even having photographs of his paintings made so that he can sell those too2t. I think we should listen to him, for only then can we see both what he intended by his gesture, and what his conservative contemporaries loathed about it: Courbet was the new self-made man. Nineteenth century France had many such: Benin, who founded Le Journal des debats, FIG lionor6 DAUMIER. Le Gamin de Paris aux Tuileries, Aubert & Cie Imprimeur, Paris, 1848.
7 COURBET'S EXHIBITIONISM 25 9 FIG Gustave COURBET. Les Demoiselles de Village, Salon of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Harry Payne Bingham, in France. It was only because of David's great celebrity, and the extreme curiosity that his work aroused, that the public accepted a practice which is repugnant to all our French customs. Although this mode of exposition succeeded in that David earned 20,000 francs, he was harshly criticized, and ever since no artist has dared try it again"23. In the heated polemics accompanying the introduction of admission fees at the 1855 Universal Exposition, the standard objection was to stress that, under the longstanding policy of noblesse oblige, a benevolent state owed to its citizens free access to those institutions considered spiritually and morally uplifting, such as churches, schools, libraries, public monuments, and expositions. Charging admission fees, it was feared, would lower art exhibitions to the level of popular entertainment, like theatres 24. Courbet, however, blatantly moved art into this sphere of commercial entertainment and self-promotion, with his pavilion advertising his own name G. Courbet (visible in fig. 14), as prominently as did the bold red signatures on his paintings 25. Charles Perrier, the critic for L'Artiste, commented Iveryone has seen Monsieur Courbet's poster with it$ huge lettering plastered over the walls of Paris, next o street performers and quack doctors, inviting the pu~lic to come and pay a franc to see his exhibition of tlorty pictures of his own work26. Bertall's cartoon (fig. 3) "At the end of the Universal Exposition, Courbet! awards himself some well-merited honors" criticizes the artist both for commercialism (the receipt box is prominently displayed) and for immodesty (he is awardingi himself a laurel wreath). The critic Ernest Gebauer attacked Courbet in 1855 thus: "M. Courbet, not satisfied with having eleven pictures in the Universal Expositio, indulged himself by setting up his own special exhibition a few steps from Palais des Beaux-Arts" 27. In other words Courbet's show manifested the requisite commercialism, ostentation, and immodesty which defined it as an exhibition.
8 26 0 GAZETTE DES BEAUX-ARTS FIG Gustave COURBET. Le Retour de la Confirence, Destroyed. In addition to the commerce of the picture shop, Courbet's 1855 show also recalled the outdoor fairs, the immediate predecessors of the resolutely non-commercial, dignified Salon exhibitions. These lowly antecedents to the Salon continued to be an unwelcome memory of the past in the collective memory of Academicians and conservatives in general; hence their criticism of the Salon as a bazaar. Joined to this, however, was an even more frightening spectre of the future: the commercialization and commodification of art which, they feared, would happen under capitalism. In other words, to conservatives Courbet's show represented the worst of both the old and the new systems of art distribution. For us today it is less shocking and more laudable to see Courbet raging against an unjust State than to see him making a crassly commercial gesture. But to nineteenth century conservatives, it was the disturbing commercialism of his gesture rather than its political content that was shocking. After all, in 1855 the political opposition came from both left and right; with the repeated revolutions and counter-revolutions which had shaken France since 1789, almost everyone had had a taste of being in the political opposition at some time. II. Courbet's Exhibitionism as Carnival Although I have been reading Courbet's exhibitionism as a function of capitalism and the new economic and social order, this should be underscored by a second level of interpretation which compounds the first: Courbet's exhibitionism as carnival. If the Louvre, the Palace of ings, represented the aristocratic tradition, and the Palace of Industry (fig. 4) at the Universal Exposition represented the challenge launched by capitalism, then Co rbet's pavilion can be seen as disruptive of both orders. Carnival, of course, did exactly that. Carnival, thel period from Twelfth Night (6 January) to Ash Wedne0ay of each year, culminating in the revelry of Mardi Gras, celebrated the world-upside-down, the reversal of thel normal order of events. It was filled with feasting and drunkenness, dancing and orgies, masquerades and street theatre. Inversion was its basic premise, satire and pa ody its means: the lowly were raised up and the mi hty were abased; social, political, and moral order cold be safely transgressed. Carnival during the 1830s an~i 40s had become increasingly political; no one at -century had forgotten that the February Revolution of': 1848 had taken place during Carnival and that the two events had been intertwined in a grotesquely surrealist spectacle: carnival processions turned into mob 2s ri ts, carnival floats into insurrectionary wagons N poleon III had certainly not forgotten and his 1855 U iversal Exposition, far from having a carnivalesque atmosphere, must be seen as the very antithesis of that, rigidly controlled and organized. This fact is important in',order to understand the contrast presented by Courbek's pavilion, at the very entrance to that Exposition; it I,fulfilled the carnivalesque function of deflating the pretentiousness of the mighty. And his gesture was indeed understood: Le Figaro described Courbet's pavilion, facing the Palais des Beaux-Arts of the Universal Exposition, as "Guignol's theatre next to La Scala of M lan..z9, that is, the Punch and Judy show, a satirical and subversive institution of popular culture, juxtaposed to! its antithesis, the high art opera house.
9 COURBET'S EXHIBITIONISM 26 1 Ever since Meyer Shapiro's brilliant article of 1941 "Courbet's Popular Imagery" 30, we have been aware of the relationship between Courbet's art and popular images. I would like to take that a step further and propose that Courbet's interest was not just in a generalized popular culture of Epinal prints and the customs of the rural bourgeoisie, but, with his instinct for the "most complete expression of a real thing" 31, Courbet focused on the most subversive and threatening aspect of popular culture, the only one that had both political overtones and a revolutionary history, namely carnival. The political carnivalesque informs Courbet's 1855 show. When Courbet wrote that his show "will really be enough to make Paris dance on its head", his statement conflated the two major features of carnival, revelry (fig. 5) with the image of the world-upside-down (fig. 6). The fear which Champfleury described as the conservative response to Courbet's show ("It's a scandal, it's anarchy, it's art dragged through the mud, it's a fairground spectacle") 32 was identical to their fear of carnival when all social order was transgressed. Taxile Delord, in Le Charivari described Courbet as a carnival barker shouting to artists to follow his example and abandon official expositions; 33 Gavarni drew just such an image of this popular carnival type as the introductory plate of "Les Debardeurs" (fig. 7). Daniel Stern (Marie d'agoult) published an account of the invasion of the Tuileries in February 1848 which gives the flavor of Carnival/Revolution where masquerade and parody combine. Daumier's cartoon of the Paris gamin on the throne (fig. 8) is based on this incident. She wrote: "The children dress themselves up in velvet robes, turn the golden drapery fringe into belts, and pieces of tapestry into phrygian caps. The women pour over their hair the perfume that they find on the princesses' tables. They rouge their cheeks, cover their shoulders with lace and furs, decorate their heads with sprays of jewels and flowers; they deck themselves out with a kind of burlesque taste parodying extravagant dress" 34. Compare this to Courbet's Young Ladies of the Village (fig. 9), criticized by Du Pays in L'/llustration as "the most anti-picturesque, the most unpleasant thing in the world: the pretention to elegance flaunted by the common people"35. Even in conservative critics' frequent attacks on Courbet as the "apostle of ugliness", one can read the world-upside-down, for ugliness was the reversal of beauty, which to conservatives was the proper sphere of art. I am proposing that, if we look at Courbet in the light of carnival, we can better understand the hysteria his works provoked in conservative circles. Parody and inversion assume a new and sinister dimension in the raucus Return from the Conference (fig. 10) featuring drunken priests, or the oversized Beggar's Alms (fig. 11) which the critic Chesneau claimed represented France 36. Courbet constantly reversed the traditional hierarchical relationship of pictorial category to size: in paintings such as fhe Stonebreakers, The Grain Sifters, After Dinner at Ornans, ordinary people are elevated to a size and status traditionally reserved for gods and heroes. Parody nd inversion proved more subtle, though equally disturbing, in A Burial at Ornans (fig. 12), whose 'enter is the void of death, and whose red-nosed beadles seem to mock the solemnity of the event. In the light of Klaus Herding's reading of The Artist's Studio (fi 13) as an adhortatio ad principem, the traditional exportation to the ruler, Linda Nochlin has recently suggested that we might also read this as world-upside-do n, with the "normal" order of the world reversed: t~e monarch must now listen and learn, while the artist & ants the benefit of his example to the ruler 37. FIG Gusta~e COURBET. L'Aumone d'un mendiant d Ornans, Buprell Collection, Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries.
10 262 GAZETTE DES BEAUX-A(ZTS FIG Gustave COURBET. Un Enterrement d Orn4ns, Paris, Music d'orsay. that carnival still contained. He created works which, like time bombs, would explode in politically and aes- theticallly conservative circles. Carnival existed at mid-century as a constellation of attitudes and modes of behaviour; Courbet knew just how to exploit, under the guise of humor, the threat Fr fry N C O C FIG Gustave COURBET, L'Atelier du peintre, alligorie rielle diterm'linant une phase de sept annies de ma vie artistique, Paris, Muscle d'o0say.
11 COURBET'S EXHIBITIONISM FIG C. THURSTON THOMPSON. "Fireman's Station and Division Wall be ween the Picture Gallery and Sugar Refinery", from R.J. Bingham and C.T. Thompson, Paris Exhibition, 1855, Tome I, No. XXXVIII. By Courtesy of the Board of Trustees of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. To his conservative audience, Courbet's 1855 show was certainly an exhibition. He travestied every aspect of high art practice, ostentatiously and immodestly, and did so with publicly avowed commercial intent. His contemporaries saw Courbet the carnival barker presiding over a disturbing vision of the world-upside-down, parodying the high, the mighty and the respectable; at the same time, they saw the spectre he presented of the future of art'', in the capitalist commodity system. For to true nineteenth century conservatives, the coming of the new bourgeois economic and social order was the world -ups id -down. What looks like a contradiction to us today was, in fact, a single nightmare vision in 1855, the defiant 11ero and the entrepreneur. P.M.
12 264 GAZETTE OES BEAUX-ARTS NOTES This research was supported in part by a grant from T e City University of New York PSC-CUNY Research Award Pr~ gram. An earlier version was read at the Symposium "Courbet Reconsidered", held at the Brooklyn Museum in 1988 in connection with the exhibition of the same title. I would like to express my gratitude to the photography historian Glenn Willumson who first discovered the photograph of Courbet's 1855 pavilion and made a copy print Of it available to me, to the historian Ann Ilan-Alter who is culrrently working on a study of carnival and without whose generosity I would not have been able to develop these i deaiip~', and to Bernard Silve and Charles Daudon who helped with the transcription of the contract for Courbet's pavilion. 1. Courbet to Alfred Bruyas, n.d., No. 10 in Courbet letters at the Biblioth6que nationale, Yb (8), published n "Lettres inddites" L'Olivier, Revue de Nice, 8 (septembre-o - tobre 1913), "Je vois ddja d'ici tine tente 6norme av c tine settle colonne au milieu, pour murailles des charpent s recouvertes de toiles peintrs, le tout month stir tine estrad. Puis des municipaux de louage, tin homme en habit noir tena t le bureau, vis-'a-vis les Cannes et parapluies, puis deux ou tro s gargons de salle y a vraiment de quoi faire danser Par S Stir la tete, ce sera sans contredit la plus forte com6die q~i aura de jouer de notre temps; it y a des gens qui en tombero6t malades, c'est stir". 2. See Patricia MAINARDI, Art and Politics of the Second Empire. The Universal Expositions of 1855 and 1867, New Haven/London, 1987, Augustin-Joseph Du PAYS, "Beaux-Arts. Expositi n Universelle", L'Illustration, 28 juillet 1855; QUILLENBOIS, " a Peinture rdaliste de M. Courbet", L'Illustration, 21 juill t CHAMPFLEURY (Jules Husson), "Du R6alisme, Lettre ii Madame Sand", L'Artiste, 2 septembre 1855, 2-5 : "tine audace incroyable". 5. This classic defense of the Salon of the Ancien R6gi e was formulated by L6on de LABORDE in his L'Application d s arts d l'industrie, Vol. 8 of the Commission frangaise stir I'i - dustrie des nations, Londres, 1851, Travaux de la Commissi frangaise stir I'industrie des nations, 8 vols., Paris, 1856, See "Exhibition", and "Exposition", in Paul ROBERt, Dictionnaire alphabetique et analogique de la langue frangaise, Paris, 1955, s.v.; Centre National de la Recherche Scie tifique, Tresor de la langue frangaise. Dictionnaire de langue du XIX ` et du XX ` siecle ( ), Paris, 198 s.v.; Ferdinand BRUNOT, Histoire de la langue frangaise, 193 S.V. 7. See Koenraad A. SwART, The Sense of Decadence i Nineteenth Century France, The Hague, 1964, Gustave COURBET, Exhibition et vente de 40 tablea x et 4 dessins de l'o'uvre de M. Gustave Courbet, avenue Mot taigne, 7, Champs-Elysdes, Paris, L6on ROSENTHAL pointed this out in his Du Romantisme au realisme, Paris, 1987, 3f, 37ff, 60; published Later Academicians whose writing illustrates these attitudes include Charles BEULt, "Du Principe des expositions", Causeries stir Part, Paris, 1867, and Georges LAFENESTRE, "Le Salon et ses vicissitudes", Revue des Deux Mondes 45 (1 mai 1881) : Jean-Louis FoUCHt, "L'Opinion d'ingres stir le Salon", La Chronique des arts et de la curiosite, 14 mars 1908, 99. "L'exposition nest plus qu'un bazar o6 la mddiocrit6 s'6tale avec impudence". 11. E.J. DELECLUZE, Louis David, son ecole et son temps, ed. Jean-Pierre Mouilleseaux, Paris, 1983, 325; published "Les salons du Louvre ont pris d'annde en ann6e le caractdre d'un bazar, oit chaque marchand s'efforce de pr6- senter les objets les plus vari6s et les plus bizarres, pour provoquer et satisfaire les fantaisies des chalands". 12. Jacques-Louis DAvID, Le tableau des Sabines, expose publiquement au palais national des sciences et des arts, salle de la ci-devant academie d'architecture par le citoyen David, Paris, an VIII (1799), 2; Deloyne 591, Vol. XXI : MM.JouY et JAY, Salon d'horace Vernet. Analyse historique et pittoresque de quarante-cinq tableaux exposes chez lui en 1822, Paris, Several letters to Alfred Bruyas in 1854 and early 1855 raise the question of a private exhibition; see COURBET, L'Olivier (cited n. 1). 14. Georges RIAT, Gustave Courbet, peintre, Paris, 1906, 82. T.J. CLARK in his Image of the People. Gustave Courbet and the Second French Republic , Greenwich, CT, 1973, 85, states that Courbet held his Dijon exhibition in the caf6 but cites no source. 15. RIAT, Ibid., 82. This seems to be a letter from Courbet to his friend Francis Wey, but Riat's text is unclear as to whether this was a written, spoken or fictionalized account. "ce qui prouve 6videmment que le grand ceeur, c'est de la niaiserie, par le fait que vous vous privez de moyens d'action sans enrichir les autres, ni par Fesprit, ni par la bourse. Afin d'etre libre, I'homme veut payer, que son jugement ne soit pas influenc6 par Ia.reconnaissance; it a raison. J'ai envie de m'instruire, et pour cela, je serai si brutal que je donnerai 3 chacun la force de me dire les vdritds les plus cruelles". 16. For a detailed discussion, see Patricia MAINARDI, "The Eviction of the Salon from the Louvre", Gazette des Beaux- Arts, juillet-ao0t 1988, Jean-Louis FoucHt, "L'Opinion d'ingres stir le Salon. Proc6s-verbaux de la commission permanente des Beaux-Arts ( )", La Chronique des arts et de la curiosite, 14 mars 1908, "Pour rem6dier A ce d6bordement des m6- diocrit6s qui fait qu'il n'y a plus d'ecole; 3 cette banalit6 qui est tin malheur public, qui afflige le gout, qui accable 1'administration dont elle absorbe les ressources sans rdsultat, it faudrait renoncer aux expositions...".
13 COURBET'S EXHIBITIONISM Louis PEISSE, "Le Salon de 1843", Revue des Deux- Mondes, n.s. 2 (1843) : 104. "Hors du Louvre, il n'y aurait plus de salon; il n'y aurait que des boutiques de tableaux". 19. See Nicholas GREEN, "Circuits of production, Circuits of Consumption: The Case of Mid-Nineteenth Century French Art Dealing", Art Journal, Spring 1989, 29-34, and Linda WHITELEY, "Art et commerce d'art en France avant 1'epoque i mpressioniste", Romantisme 4, (1983): Courbet to Bruyas, letter No. 7, n.d., in the BN collection and L'Olivier (cited n. 1), ; "Je grnene francs d'un seul coup". Courbet to Bruyas, n.d., in L'Olivier, ; "Je vais passer pour un monstre mais je gagnerai francs, d'apr6s toute prdvision". In an earlier letter to Bruyas, n.d., No. 10 in the BN collection, Courbet projects only 40,000 francs profit; see L'Olivier, Courbet to Bruyas, n.d., in L'Olivier (cited n. 1), David (cited n. 12), 2. "De nos joues, cette pratique est observde en Angleterre, oil elle est appelde exhibition". 23. DELtCLUZE (cited n. 11), "Le mode d'exposition adopte par David parut une innovation bien plus extraordinaire que l'idde de prdsenter ses personnages nus. L'artiste, a~-ant entendu parler des exhibitions telles qu'elles se pratiquent en Angleterre, c'est-3-dire en faisant payer un prix d'entrde a l a porte, rdsolut de faire 1'essai de cette mdthode en France. Il ne fallut riens moins que la grande cdldbritd dont jouissait David et la curiositd extreme que faisait naitre son ouvrage, pour que I'on se conformat 3 un usage qui rdpugne a toutes les habitudes frangaises. Bien que I'on se soumit A cc mode d'exposition, puis qu'il rapporta vingt mille francs, on le blama gdndralement, et depuis, aucun artiste n'a osd y recourir de nouveau ". 24. See MAINARDI, (cited n. 2), 44-46, A.J. Du PAYS wrote that RtALISME, in large letters,,a-as written across the doors, but it cannot be seen in the photograph; see Du PAYS (cited n. 3), Charles PERRIER, "Du Rdalisme, Lettre a M. le Directeur de 1'Artiste", L'Artiste, 14 octobre 1855, 86. "Tous le monde a vu, placardde aux murs de Paris en compagnie des saltimbanques et de tous les marchands d'orvidtan et dcrite en caracteres gigantesques, l'affiche de M. Courbet, apotre du rdalisme, i nvitant le public a aller ddposer la somme de un franc A Pexhibition de quarante tableaux de son muvre". 27. Ernest GEBAOER, Les Beaux-Arts d 1'Exposition Universelle de 1855, Paris, 1855, 133. "M. Courbet, non content Tavoir eu onze tableaux admis A dexposition universelle, s'est passd la fantaisie d'une exhibition spdciale, A deux pas du palais des Beaux-Arts". 28. For carnival during this period, see Alain FAURE, Paris Carente-prenant. Du carnaval d Paris au XlX e siecle , Paris, 1978; the February 1848 Revolution is discussed The basic work on carnival remains M.M. BAKHTIN, Rabelais and his World, trans. H. Iswolsky, Cambridge, MA, Ajuguste VILLEMOT, "Chronique parisien", Le Figaro, 8 juillet k855, 2. "Le thdatre de Guignol a c6td de la Scala de Milan'. 30. Meyer SCHAPIRO, "Courbet and Popular Imagery", in his Modern Art. 19th and 20th Centuries. Selected Papers, New Yore, ', 1978, See COURBET's letter to a group of students, Paris, 25 d6cernbre 1861; published in Le Courrier du dimanche, 29 ddcembr 1861, reprinted in Courbet raconte par lui-meme et par ses mis, Geneva, 1950, Vol. 2: "L'imagination dans Fart consiste A savoir trouver Pexpression la plus complete ',1d'une chose existante, mais jamais e supposer ou 3 crder cette chose meme". 32. CHAMPFLEURY (cited n. 4), I. 33. T~xile DELORD, "Exposition des Beaux-Arts. IV. L'annexe Co rbet", Le Charivari, 4 juillet Daniel STERN (Marie d'agoult), Histoire de la Revolution de~1848, Paris, 1850, vol. I: "Les enfants se revetent e robes de chambre en velours, se font des ceintures avec des Ifranges d'or et des torsades de rideaux, des bonnets phrygien$ avec des morceaux de tentures. Les femmes font ruisseler dans leurs cheveux les essences parfumdes qu'elles trouvent ~ur les tables des princesses. Elles fardent leurs joues, couvrent I leurs dpaules de dentelles et de fourrures, ornent leurs tet s d'aigrettes, de bijoux et de fleurs; elles se composent a, ec un certain gout burlesque des parures extravagantes". 35. J. Du PAYS (cited n. 3), 72; on this painting, see Patricia AINARDI, "Gustave Courbet's Second Scandal : Les Demoise les de Village", Arts Magazine 53 (January 1979) : "c'est-a-dire ce qu'il y a de plus anti-pittoresque, de plus ddp aisant au monde : les prdtentions de 1'dldgance affichdes ar les lourdaudes". 36. rnest CHESNEAU, "Salon de 1868", Le Constitutionnel, 16 j in tmile Zola also commented on Courbet's "bad joke" in this painting in his "Salon de 1868"; see $mile ZOLA, Salons, F.W.J. Hemmings, Robert J Niess, eds., Geneva /Paris, 1959, inda NOCHLIN, "CourbetIs Real Allegory: Rereading 'The Pai ter's Studio"', in Sarah FAUNCE and Linda NOCHLIN, Courbet I Reconsidered, The Brooklyn Museum, New York, 1988, ; Klaus HERDING, "Das Atelier des Malers - Treffpun t der Welt and Ort der Versohnung", Realismus als Widerspruch: Die Wirklichkeit in Courbets Malerei, Klaus Herding,', ed., Frankfurt-am-Main,