Courbet discovery - is it all a load of 'foutaise'?

February 10 2013

Image of Courbet discovery - is it all a load of 'foutaise'?

Picture: Paris Match

Le Figaro has interviewed art dealer Hubert Duchemin on the apparent discovery of the head of Courbet's 'L'Origine du Monde', first published in Paris Match. He says it's all a load of 'foutaise' - or as we say in English, 'bullsh*t'. In addition, the Musee d'Orsay has issued a statement saying the discovery is, to use the technical term, a load of old phooey.

Didier Rykner at Tribune de L'Art has published Paris Match's recreation of how the sketch and body are supposed to match up [above]. Didier is deeply sceptical of the whole thing. Meanwhile, Jean-Jacques Fernier, the compiler of the Courbet catalogue raisonne who has accepted the work, is taking a dim view of the critics:

I don’t give a damn what they think. I am the official Courbet specialist and I have said it is by him. These Civil servants haven’t even seen the work.” 

The phrase 'official specialist' should be enough to chill the heart of any art historian. What a weird concept. But they seem to like doing things this way in France. 

Readers will notice that I've censored the above image, out of deference to Buckinghamshire County Council, who blocked AHN after I first reported the story. 

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