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New exhibition at the National Museum puts select works of art under a microscope: How the museum determined that A Man Fishing was a genuine Courbet

Press Release   •   Nov 08, 2016 10:08 GMT

The National Museum has recently carried out research on the provenance of A Man Fishing by Gustave Courbet,and uncovered reliable evidence that the museum’s painting was executed by the artist himself. But how? This mystery is what the “Under the Microscope: Gustave Courbet” exhibition at the National Gallery is all about. The exhibition opens to the public on 18 November and will run until 5 February 2017.

Distinguishing between genuine and fake paintings is a challenge that most art museums face. This concerns not least the host of popular French nineteenth-century artists who were widely forged, including Gustave Courbet. Already during his lifetime quite a few works were sold as “genuine Courbets”, though he himself had never been anywhere near those paintings. When the Courbet painting A Man Fishing was donated to the National Gallery in 1947, its authenticity was therefore questioned for a long while, and the work was ascribed instead to “the Courbet school”.

Gustave Courbet was childless and bequeathed all of his works to his sister Juliette Courbet. When she passed away in 1915, she had decided that two of her closest friends, Félicie Lapierre and Marie de Tastes, were to be the sole heirs of her brother’s paintings. The story of how the National Museum managed to trace A Man Fishing back to these heirs is worthy of an exhibition.

We invite you to attend a special press viewing on Thursday, 17 November 11:00 a.m., at the National Gallery in hall 11. For registration,please contact Press Manager Elise Lund ( / tel.: +0047 993 21 942) before Friday, 11 November.

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