The Oppressive Telephone
Department of Art after 1800
Courbet’s winter landscape was made in the artist’s last creative period in Switzerland, after he was forced into exile in 1873 due to his role in the Paris Commune. In the background of the work, the massive medieval edifice of Blonay Castle towers over the surrounding countryside, while the bare trees, the snow-covered soil and the cloudy sky lend the composition a gloomy atmosphere. This canvas, which can be attributed in part to Courbet’s pupil, Cherubino Patà, is famous mostly for its unusual function, as it was long used to hide Courbet’s erotic masterpiece, The Origin of the World, from plain sight. The latter painting, now held by the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and displayed without concealment, was once part of the famous collection belonging to Baron Ferenc Hatvany, which also included The Wrestlers.
Anna Zsófia Kovács
This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.