Signed lower left and titled and dated lower right
New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut
New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut. Gift of the Estate of George Deem, 2013. Accession Number 2013.54.106
| Artist's Notes
I have quoted the following works by Courbet in this drawing. The Winnowers, 1853-1854, Muse des Beaux-Arts, Nantes; The Artist'sStudio, 1855, Muse d'Orsay, Paris; The Meeting (Good Morning Monsieur Courbet), 1854, Fabre Museum, Montpellier. Thinking about a School of Courbet I thought first of Courbet's painting The Winnowers. This is for me one of Courbet's most appealing paintings. His depiction of the two women separating grain is enviably well executed, with just the right weight and placement, and with a masterful pull and rendering of fabric. How could I put these women in a schoolroom? They are placed at the left in Courbet's painting and I thought it best to keep them to the left when beginning my own composition, using their weight as the main force in my rectangle. Next I thought of Courbet's memorable epic painting The Artist's Studio in which Courbet places, exactly at the center of the painting, an image of himself as the artist seated at the easel, painting a landscape on a large canvas. His nude model stands behind him, watching over his shoulder as he paints, and a little boy, his back to us, stands at the artist's knee, also watching him paint. This could be a schoolboy. This could take place in a schoolroom. Now there can be school desks, and the amount of floor displayed in The Winnowers dictates that the desks should be seen from above. At this point in the drawing I have five figures and many desks. It would seem however, the presence of the little boy notwithstanding, that this is not a school day, that school is not in session. A country schoolroom is used for many things, for voting, for meetings, even for winnowing grain. If then adults have taken over the schoolroom for their own use I can introduce visitors from another Courbet painting, the two men who meet Courbet out walking in the countryside, with his painter's supplies and equipment on his back. "Good morning, Mr. Courbet," they greet him. It is a typical day in the painter's life, one when the master uses his time and the schoolroom for other things than lessons. (George Deem, New York, July 13, 1996).