Courbet, l’homme blessé
Gérard A. Jaeger
To publish a book on Courbet without any illustrations is quite a challenge. In his little book Gérald A. Jaeger manages quite well by combining the more romanced passages to create an atmosphere to analyse the oeuvre. We are not too enthusiastic about the play regarding Courbet and women (the beautiful teenager Lise for whom he has pure love, Virginie Binet, «the companion of brighter days», Léontine Renaude who was so unprude that she would make «the most experienced tremble"). As for the rest, we let ourselves be enraptured with a certain pleasure by the story of this life full of adventures: the rebuffes of the Salon, the adventure of the pavilion of the Alma in 1855 (Courbet, 36 years old, held his first salon), the year in the Netherlands, his friendship in the South with the young patron Bruyas. Including the disastrous matter of the Vendôme column (accused of being the main cause for its fall at the time of the Commune, Courbet went to prison and then went into exile to Switzerland) and ended his life. Courbet’s relationship with spelling, with photography, the history of the Origin of the world, the links with Baudelaire or Castagnary are mentioned. Once the book is closed, we feel like seeing -or seeing again- the Baigneuses, the Casseurs de pierre, or the Rencontre. We will just have to wait for the major retrospective next fall at the Grand Palais.
• Courbet, l’homme blessé, by Gérard A. Jaeger, éditions Punctum, 13,50 €, ISBN : 2-35116-017-7
Review published in the newsletter #29 - from 11 January 2007 to 17 January 2007