Gustave Courbetâs 1854 painting The Meeting (also known as Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet!) depicts his greatest patron, Alfred Bruyas (1821-1877), welcoming the artist to his hometown of Montpellier, in the south of France. As one of the foremost collectors of contemporary art in France, Bruyasâs tastes ranged from romanticism to realism, and he collected both traditional and what was then avant-garde art.
This beautifully illustrated book features ninety-four works from Bruyasâs celebrated collection, including nine masterpieces by Courbet as well as important paintings, drawings, and sculptures by such leading French artists of the period as Delacroix, Ingres, GÃ©ricault, Millet, Corot, Rousseau, and Barye. The accompanying texts examine Bruyasâs role as one of the few mid-nineteenth-century private collectors of contemporary art and the significance of his patronage of living artists as well as the well-known but little-scrutinized relationship between Bruyas and Courbet. A newly discovered critique of the renowned collection, written by the influential artist Paul Signac some twenty years after Bruyasâs death, is also presented.
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