Gustave Courbet

The Waterfalls

c. 1872
Thick, viscous oil paint, vigorously applied with brush and palette knife, gives this work a coarse texture. Courbet has built up the painting using dark grounds, working from dark to light. All traces of human or animal life are absent; as this is one of the last landscapes he painted in France before seeking political asylum in Switzerland, the strange emptiness is perhaps symbolic.

– 1882/01/19-20

M. Thomas, Duc de Bojano, France [1]

1882/01/19-20 -

Hector-Henri-Clément Brame (1831–1899), Paris, France, purchased from the Duc de Bojano [2]

- 1888/03/15
Doidatz Collection (?) [In auction of “Tableaux modernes.” at Hotel Drouot, March 15, 1888, Paris, France] [3]

- 1894/02/07
George Ingraham Seney (1826–1893), New York, NY, USA [4]

1894/02/07 -

Randolph collection [5]

- 1929
Marquis Edgar de Rochecouste (b.1845), Paris, France [6]

E.J. Van Wisselingh & Co., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, purchased from the Marquis de Rochecouste [7]

1929 –1946
Gordon C. Edwards (l866–1946), Ottawa, Canada purchased from E.J. Van Wisselingh & Co. [8]

– 1946/03
Mrs. E.L.M. Bogue and G.M.M. Edwards, by inheritance [9]

1946/03 –
National Gallery of Canada, given by Mrs. E.L.M. Bogue and G.M.M. Edwards [10]

The main source for this provenance is Robert Fernier's catalogue raisonné, cat. no. 856

[Fernier, Robert. "La vie et l'Oeuvre de Gustave Courbet, Catalogue raisonné." Lausanne, Paris: Fondation Wildenstein, 1978]. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.

[1] A posthumous sale of the collection of "M. le Duc de B..." was held at the Hôtel Drouot, Paris, January 19–20, 1882 [“Tableaux anciens et modernes, collection de Feu M. le Duc de B...”, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, January 19/20, 1882]. Fernier's catalogue raisonné identifies the seller as Monsieur Thomas, Duc de Bojano [See also the letter by R. Fernier, dated 1972/8/5, NGC curatorial file]. In Mireur's “Dictionnaire des Ventes d'Art.” however, the name is written "Bajano". [Mireur, H."Dictionnaire des Ventes d'Art faites en France et à l'Étranger pendant les 18ième et 19ième Siècles." Paris: Maison d'éditions d'œuvres artistiques, 1911, tome 2, p. 284].

[2] At the 1882 Drouot sale [see note 1] the painting was offered as La Source du Lison, près Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne. A handwritten note in the NGC's copy of the Drouot auction catalogue identifies the buyer as “Brame” - most likely the Parisian art dealer Hector Brame.

[3] The work was included in auction of “Tableaux modernes.”at Hôtel Drouot, Paris, France as lot no.45, "La Source du Lison, près Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne. Signé et daté 1873; 97 x 147 cm". A handwritten note identifies the seller as “Doidatz” [or Sordatz or Jordatz].

[4] On February 7, 1894 the painting was included in the estate sale of New York banker George I. Seney's at the American Art Association, New York [“Modern paintings, water colors, etchings and engravings.” as Source de Lusine, lot no. 209]. A handwritten note in the sales catalogue marks the purchaser as “Randolph”.

[5] See note [4].

[6] The stock book of Dutch art dealer E. J. Van Wisselingh & Co. lists the Marquis de Rochecouste as owner of the work until 1929 [Van Wisselingh Archive, stock number S 5218, Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Dokumentatie, The Hague, The Netherlands].

Fernier notes that the painting was in auction at Hôtel Drouot, Paris, on June 19, 1920, lot 56, as La cascade du Valbois, and was bought in. He lists Henri Baudoin, C. P. and André Schoeller as owners. The Van Wisselingh stockbook, however, reads “1929 - Marquis de Rochecouste, 1929 - G.C. Edwards”, suggesting the painting was directly purchased by Van Wisselingh from the Marquis de Rochecouste and sold to G.C. Edwards (1866–1946), Ottawa, Canada, the same year.

[7] See note [6].

[8] See note [6].

[9] See note [10]

[10] The painting was a gift to the National Gallery by Mrs. E.L.M. Bogue and G.M.M. Edwards in memory of their father, Gordon C. Edwards [Accession Log, NGC curatorial file].

The Waterfalls
c. 1872
oil on canvas
97.8 x 151.1 cm
Credit line
Gift of Mr. G.M.M. Edwards and Mrs. E.L.M. Bogue, Ottawa, 1946, in memory of their father the late Gordon C. Edwards (1866-1946)
Accession number

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