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The Quarry (La Curée)

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Courbet was the self-styled leader of the Realist movement in French art. Most of his paintings of modern life were condemned as offensively ordinary, but The Quarry was well received when it was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1857. Probably set in the Jura Mountains along the French-Swiss...

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Lower right: G. Courbet


1858, sold by the artist to van Isacker, Antwerp, for 8,000 francs; 1862, exchanged by van Isacker with the Galerie Cadart et Luquet, Paris [see note 1]; April, 1866, brought to the United States by Cadart et Luquet and sold to the Allston Club, Boston, for 25,000 francs ($5000) [see note 2]; about 1873, upon the dissolution of the Allston Club, passed to Henry Sayles (b. 1834 - d. 1918), Boston; 1918, by inheritance to his nephew, George Tappan Francis, Boston and Needham, MA; 1918, sold by George Tappan Francis to the MFA for $75,000. (Accession Date: September 12, 1918) NOTES: [1] See René Brunesoeur, Museum Contemporain: Biographies. Gustave Courbet (Paris, 1867), p. 22 and Robert Fernier, "En Voyage avec Courbet," Les Amis de Gustave Courbet 1966, p. 43. Citing Fernier, Bruce K. MacDonald suggested that the artist "probably transferred the painting" to him in 1858; see his "The Quarry by Gustave Courbet," MFA Bulletin 67, no. 348 (1969): 52. Van Isacker exhibited the painting in 1860; see "Catalogue de Tableaux Tirés de Collections d'Amateurs" (26 Boulevard des Italiens, Paris, 1860), cat. no. 125 (measuring 160 x 175 cm.). Courbet enlarged the painting in 1862 at the insistence of the dealer Luquet. [2] On the sale of the painting to the Allston Club, see "Boston Painters and Paintings," The Atlantic Monthly 62 (October, 1888): 503-504 and Martha A. S. Shannon, "Boston Days of William Morris Hunt" (Boston, 1923), pp. 87-88. The Allston Club exhibited the painting in 1866 ("First Exhibition," cat. no. 1) and 1867 ("Second Annual Exhibition," cat. no. 1), and lent it to the Boston Athenaeum between 1869 and 1872.

Credit Line

Henry Lillie Pierce Fund



210.2 x 183.5 cm (82 3/4 x 72 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas