Gustave Courbet – Le Chateau De Chillon (the Castle Of Chillon)

THERE are numerous landscapes dating from this period, studies of trees, views of the ” Cascade d’Hauteville,” “Lac Léman,” “La Dent de Jaman” and “La Dent du Midi.” The artist became particularly fond of the “Château de Chillon,” and loved to paint its bold towers rising above the trans-parent water. The example here reproduced was formerly in the Girard collection, but there are variations of it in the possession of Mme Castagnary, Mme Descombat, M. Cusenier, and in the Hôtel de Ville at Ornans. He also took up the chisel, which he had sometimes handled and modelled a bust of the Helvetian Republic, which is of disputable form, though full of movement. On the pedestal is written this inscription: “Helvetia. Homage for Hospitality. Tour de Peilz, May, 1875.” In accepting the bust in the name of his fellow-countrymen, the syndic expressed his gratitude with touching dignity: “We appreciate,” he said, ” the sentiment, very sweet and very delightful to us, which dictated your gift to us, and we are glad to know that your sojourn by the banks of our lake has brought you peace. . You have lived tranquilly beneath the flag of the liberty which has been your inspiration. We thank you for this testimony of your affection for us. . . . We shall carefully preserve this monument which will tell posterity ‘An illustrious exile here found rest.’ ”

There are several replicas of the “Helvetia,” one of which is at the entrance to the terrace at Meudon.

In June, 1877, the artist had a momentary hope that he might soon be restored to his position among French painters. He sent to Paris a list of the pictures which he wished to show in the Universal Exhibition of the following year and this time he had the better of his adversaries. ” Sir,” said Henner to one of them, “among painters there is and can be only one opinion. If there were room for only ten of us in the Exhibition, M. Courbet would be one of those ten!”

But the reparation came too late. The artist’s health had been gradually undermined by these years of tribulation. ” My brain is so tired,” he wrote at this time, ” that it is a tremendous effort for me even to answer a letter.” Dropsy, from which he had suffered for some time, suddenly made rapid progress. When he was in terrible physical agony he heard that a judicial sale of his pictures, conducted under the most deplorable conditions at the end of November, 1877, had had only the most insignificant results. That was the last piece of news that reached Courbet from France.