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ART “4” “2”-DAY  31 December v.10.10
BIRTHS: 1753 VAN STRY —  1842 BOLDINI —  1751 LAMPI 1869 MATISSE
^ Born on 31 December 1753: Abraham van Stry I, Dutch artist who died on 07 March 1826.
— Abraham van Stry (1753-1826) was a painter of oils and watercolors born in Dordrecht. A versaitile painter, van Stry first made still life scenes of flowers and fruit. Later, obliged to assist his father, Leendert van Stry, he began to make history paintings and landscapes. Van Stry painted interiors and genre scenes in the style of Gabriel Metsu and Pieter de Hooch, and his landscapes reveal a close study of Cuyp. Van Stry also painted illusionistic grisaille imitations of marble reliefs, a popular decor in the Netherlands since the Renaissance. These were known as "witjes" ("wit" or white) after Jacob de Wit (1695-1754), who gained international renown in this style. In 1774 Abraham van Stry founded the society "Pictura" of Dordrecht. Beginning in 1818 he was a member of the Antwerp Academy. His works earned several prizes in Paris and London.

Young Sweethearts (36x46cm) _ This is a genre scene of the type popular in eighteenth-century Holland. Middle-class patrons delighted in their status and possessions, and enjoyed painted representations of this kind.
^ >Born on 31 December 1842: Giovanni Boldini, Italian painter who died on 12 January 1931.
— Fils d'un artiste de Ferrare spécialisé dans la peinture religieuse, Boldini apprit son art à l'Académie de Florence et fit la connaissance au café Michelangelo du groupe des Macchiaioli, qui aiguisèrent son sens de la touche libre et des rapports colorés intenses. Le choix facile des sujets, une facture brillante et minutieuse, une touche onctueuse, ont concouru au vif succès qu'il connut au cours de ses séjours à Londres et à Paris (1869 - 1871), consacrant sa vocation mondaine.
      Fixé définitivement à Paris en 1872, il se mêla au cercle des peintres qui fréquentaient le Salon. Il commença alors la célèbre série de ses portraits parisiens. Son coup de pinceau plus libre et plus nerveux annonce son style définitif, cette manière fiévreuse et elliptique qui s'épanouira pleinement vers 1886, au moment où il devient une célébrité du monde parisien, avec ses amis le peintre Helleu et le dessinateur Sem. Au cours des décennies suivantes, les plus prestigieuses personnalités du Paris de la fin du siècle posèrent devant lui.

–- The Misses Muriel and Consuelo Vanderbilt
— F*>#Mrs. Graham Fair Vanderbilt
— F*># Mrs. Whitney Warren, Sr (1908)
— F*>#Madame X (1907)
— F*>#Café Scene (1887)
— F*>#Study of a Woman
— F*>#Whistler Asleep (1897)
Lady Colin Campbell (1897)
Robert de Montesquiou (1897; 598x419pix, 29kb _ ZOOM to 1093x750pix, 81kb) _ Marie Joseph Robert Anatole, comte de Montesquiou-Fezensac [07 Mar 1855 – 11 Dec 1921] was a French Symbolist poet, art collector and dandy. He was fictionalized as “Des Esseintes” in À rebours by “Joris-Karl” Huysmans [05 Feb 1848 – 12 May 1907] and as “Baron de Charlus” in À la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust [10 Jul 1871 – 18 Nov 1922]. Robert de Montesquiou belonged to the famous French Montesquiou-Fezensac family. — Dante Alighieri lived much too early to know about him, but if he had, he probably would have placed
      _ Robert de Montesquiou in Hell (2009; 1093x750pix, 204kb), as did the pseudonymous Ignavoni Audacini in this picture.
      And here are links to portraits of Robert de Montesquiou made by
      _ Carolus-Duran
      _ Jacques-Emile Blanche
      _ James Abbott McNeill Whistler
      _ Antonio de la Gandara
      _ Philip Alexius de Laszlo
      _ Paul César Helleu

Parigi di Notte
Cecilia de Madrazo Fortuny (115x69cm)
The Laundry (1874)
The Summer Stroll
The artist Lawrence Alexander “Peter” Harrison (1902, 126x101cm) monochrome
Pauline Ménard-Dozian, Mme. Georges Hugo, and her son, Jean (1898)
‘Willy’, the writer Henri Gauthier-Villars (1905)
Mme. Gabrielle Rejane (1885) _ kissing her darling doggie.
Peaceful Days aka The Music Lesson (1875, 35x25cm)
57 images at ARC40 images at the Athenaeum
^ >Died on 31 December 1877: Jean-Désiré-Gustave Courbet, leading French realist painter, also a writer, born on 10 June 1819.
— Courbet’s glory is based essentially on his works of the late 1840s and early 1850s depicting peasants and labourers, which were motivated by strong political views and formed a paradigm of Realism. From the mid-1850s into the 1860s he applied the same style and spirit to less overtly political subjects, concentrating on landscapes and hunting and still-life subjects. Social commitment, including a violent anticlericalism, re-emerged in various works of the 1860s and continued until his brief imprisonment after the Commune of 1871. From 1873 he lived in exile in Switzerland where he employed mediocre artists, but also realized a couple of outstanding pictures with an extremely fresh and free handling. The image Courbet presented of himself in his paintings and writings has persisted, making him an artist who is assessed as much by his personality as by his work. This feature and also his hostility to the academic system, state patronage and the notion of aesthetic ideals have made him highly influential in the development of modernism.
— The son of a family of well off landowners from the west of France, Courbet cultivated a rough ‘peasant painter’ image throughout his life. He claimed to be largely self-taught and insisted that art should take as its subject the lives of ordinary people. In 1855 he held an exhibition of his own work entitled ‘Realism’ which epitomised his style and interests. Imprisoned for his role in the destruction of the great column in the Place Vendôme during the Paris Commune in 1871, he fled to Switzerland in 1873 and died there four years later.
— Alexandre Dumas the Younger disliked Courbet so much that he once called him a ‘sonorous and hairy pumpkin’.
— In 1860 Courbet opened a short-lived studio school. It was not a great success, he provided horses and bulls as models and refused to teach so as not to compromise anyone’s individuality.
— Courbet was an influential and prolific French painter, who, with his compatriots Honore Daumier and Jean Francois Millet, founded the mid-19th-century art movement called realism.
      Courbet, a farmer's son, was born in Ornans. He went to Paris about 1840, ostensibly to study law; instead, he taught himself to paint by copying masterpieces in the Louvre, Paris. In 1850 he exhibited The Stone Breakers (1849), a blunt, forthright depiction of laborers repairing a road. In it, Courbet deliberately flouted the precepts of the romantics—champions of emotionally charged exoticism—and of the powerful academics—guardians of the moralizing Beaux-Arts traditions. He further outraged them with his enormous Burial at Ornans (1850), in which a frieze of poorly clad peasants surrounds a yawning grave. Courbet compounded his defiance of convention in another huge painting, The Artist's Studio (1855), which he subtitled A True Allegory Concerning Seven Years of My Artistic Life. In it, Courbet sits painting a landscape center stage, attended by a small boy, a dog, and a voluptuous female nude; at left a listless, bored group studiously ignores him; at right a lively, spirited crowd of his friends admires his work. At the same time he issued a provocative manifesto detailing his social realist credo of art and life. By this time he enjoyed widespread popularity.
      By then Courbet's distinctive painting style was fully developed, marked by technical mastery, a bold and limited palette, compositional simplicity, strong and even harshly modeled figures (as in his nudes), and heavy impasto—thick layers of paint—often applied with a palette knife (particularly evident in his landscape and marine paintings).
      As radical in politics as he was in painting, Courbet was placed in charge of all art museums under the revolutionary 1871 Commune of Paris and saved the city's collections from looting mobs. Following the fall of the Commune, however, Courbet was accused of allowing the destruction of Napoléon's triumphal column in the Place Vendôme; he was imprisoned and condemned to pay for its reconstruction. In 1873 he fled to Vevey, Switzerland, where he continued to paint until his death.
— Courbet was born in Ornans, a small town in the Jura region of eastern France. Situated on the Swiss border, this mountainous area is rich with forests and pasture lands, while Ornans itself nestles in the rocky valley of the River Loue.
     Courbet's family had lived in the area for generations. His father, Regis, owned a house in Ornans and a farm and vineyards in nearby Flagey. The family's ambivalent social position, with peasant origins but a new bourgeois identity, made Courbet particularly aware of the class divisions of rural France, and was central to his personal and artistic development. He also fell heir to a deep-rooted affection for the local countryside, which was to figure so largely in his art.
     Courbet's art training began at the age of 14, with lessons from "Père" Baud, a former student of the Neo-Classical painter Baron Gros. His parents were hoping that Gustave would study law when he moved to the nearby university town of Besanconin 1837, but he swiftly enrolled at the Academy, taking life classes under M. Flajoulot, another exponent of Classicism.
     Two years later, Courbet left Besancon for Paris, which in the mid 19th century had become the European center not only for art, but also for radicals and political activists of all kinds. A tall and strikingly handsome young man, the 20-year-old artist was supremely self-confident and gregarious, but his time in Paris started quietly enough. He began studying at the studio of a now obscure painter, M. Steuben, copied widely from the pictures in the Louvre and channeled his energies into seeking success at the Salon.
     Courbet's early attempts at recognition were none too successful. Between 1841 and 1847, only three of the 25 works he submitted were passed by the selection committee. And for the first 10 years he sold almost nothing, remaining almost entirely dependent on his family sending him money. During this period he also met Virginia Binet, about whom little is known except that she became his mistress and bore him a son in 1847.
     One of the works Courbet exhibited at the Salon caught the eye of a Dutch dealer, who invited him to Holland and commissioned a portrait. In addition, he had the support of the new friends he had made in Paris. In January 1848 he wrote enthusiastically to his parents that he was very close to making a breakthrough. Influential people, he assured them, were impressed by his work and were forming a new school, with him at the head.
     Courbet's Realist friends came from the circle which gathered at the Brasserie Andler (or the "Temple of Realism" as it was soon to be nicknamed). Among them were the poet Charles Baudelaire, Pierre Proudhon, and the anarchist; Jules Champfleury, the Realist author and critic; and his cousin and childhood friend Max Buchon.
     It was at the Brasserie that the term "Realism" was first coined to describe not only a style of art and literature which presented life as it was, but also a philosophy committed to contemporary social issues. The Brasserie Andler was just down the road from Courbet's studio, and he was often to be seen in the crowed cafe. His larger-than-life personality soon made him the center of the animated discussions which went on there nightly. He preserved his provincial Jura accent and smoked old-fashioned pipes; he was a great eater, a great drinker and above all a great talker. But he had adopted his role of semi-literate peasant for a reason - both to distance himself from the bourgeois world of Paris and to gain acceptance in avant-garde society. It also concealed an inner loneliness. He later wrote: "Behind this laughing mask of mine which you know, I conceal grief and bitterness, and a sadness which clings to my heart like a vampire. In the society in which we live, it doesn't take much to reach the void".
     In February 1848 that society was violently shaken, when rioting broke out on the streets of Paris. Louis Philippe abdicated and a provisional Republican government took control. Courbet sided with the popular insurrection, although he took little part in the fighting. In the uneasy political atmosphere, the Salon still opened, but this time without a selection committee. Courbet, who had suffered so many rejections in the past, now had ten works displayed.
 ^     Although the Second Republic survived for less than four years until Louis-Napoléon's coup d'état, Courbet's name was made. His Salon entries of 1848 were greeted enthusiastically by the critics and the following year his large painting After Dinner at Ornans won a gold medal and was purchased by the government. The medal was particularly important, since it exempted Courbet from the selection procedure at future Salons.
      The timing of this privilege was most fortuitous, as the storm of protest against the Realist movement was about to break. Probably on the advice of Champfleury, Courbet had been steadily abandoning his early Romantic subject-matter in favor of scenes of his beloved Ornans - which he visited regularly - containing portraits of his family, friends and neighbors. The most striking example of this was Burial at Ornans which went on show at the 1850-1851 Salon. Courbet had embarked on this huge painting in the summer of 1849, with virtually everyone in the district clamoring to be included. The result was a vast, frieze-like composition, designed to catch the eye. The critics hated it. It was too big; the figures were too ugly; the beadles looked drunk; it was too individual. From now on every picture Courbet exhibited provoked a furor.
      Not all the hostility which Courbet aroused can be attributed to purely artistic factors, however. In the aftermath of the Revolution, pictures of unidealized and uncompromising peasants, portrayed on a heroic scale, must have seemed deeply threatening to the new regime and its supporters. These fears were increased by friends such as Proudhon, who interpreted the works as political statements in a way that the artist had probably never intended.
      Courbet did not bother to deny such claims. He was rarely averse to provoking those in authority and took great pleasure in the vicarious radicalism of his reputation. So in 1853, when the government offered him an olive branch, Courbet was swift to rebuff it. This attempt at appeasement came when the Comte de Nieuwerkerke, the Director of Fine Arts, proposed to Courbet that he should produce a major painting for the forthcoming World Exhibition, provided only that he submit a sketch in advance. Courbet rejected the overture indignantly, as a breach of his intellectual liberty. Needless to say, three of his most significant contributions to the exhibition were eventually rejected. The artist was disappointed, but not disheartened. And in 1855, in an unprecedented show of artistic independence, he staged his own one-man exhibition alongside the official displays.
      The show was advertised under the banner of Realism and contained a representative selection of Courbet's work dating back to the early 1840's. The centerpiece was his most original and ambitious canvas, The Painter's Studio - a monumental depiction of the artist's studio, peopled with a mixture of close friends and symbolic figures.
      This private exhibition marked a watershed in Courbet's life, separating him from many of his most formative influences. Proudhon had been jailed and Buchon exiled for their activities during the Revolution, while Champfleury gradually dissociated himself from his friend's socialist leanings. There were upheavals in Courbet's personal life, too. His longstanding mistress, Virginia Binet, left him in the early 1850s, taking their young son with her. Courbet was surprisingly philosophical about this, writing to a friend that his art was keeping him busy and that in any case a married man was a reactionary.
     Increasing recognition outside Paris made Courbet less reliant on success at the Salon and he traveled extensively after 1855. In Frankfurt, he was treated as a celebrity, with the local Academy placing a studio at his disposal. In Trouville, on the Normandy coast, he met up with James Whistler and plied a profitable trade in seascapes and portraits of the local beauties; in Etretat he painted with the youthful Monet. He exhibited in Germany, Holland, Belgium and England, and decorations were showered on him.
     Undoubtedly, part of the reason that Courbet traveled so widely during the late 1850s and 1860s was to enjoy such accolades, but it was also partly to distance himself from a government that he still believed was hostile to him. When he was finally offered the Légion d'Honneur in 1870, on the eve of the Franco-Prussian War, it was already too late. Courbet declined the decoration grandly, as an example of state interference in art.
     The gesture was remembered when the government fell, and Courbet was elected chairman of the republican Arts Commission. The following year, he narrowly missed election to the National Assembly, but was accepted as a counselor, which in turn made him a member of the Commune. Tenure of these posts implicated Courbet in the destruction of the column in the Place Vendôme, a monument to Napoléon's victories, and when the Commune failed, he was arrested and condemned to six months' imprisonment and a fine of 500 francs.
^      Courbet began his sentence at Sainte-Pélagie prison in September 1871. But illness cut short his stay, and he soon was removed to a clinic at Neuilly. Misfortune dogged him: his son died in 1872, and throughout the following winter Courbet was plagued with rheumatism and liver problems. Worse was to follow. In May 1873, the new government ordered him to pay for the reconstruction of the Vendome Column. The cost of this - later confirmed at over 300'000 francs - was prohibitive, and Courbet was obliged to flee from France. He chose Switzerland, where he felt at home among the French-speaking community and the familiar Jura mountains. The exiled artist settled at La Tour de Peilz, where he remained in touch with French dissidents and - despite heavy drinking - was able to continue painting. He never gave up hope of returning to France, but the chance of a reprieve never came. Courbet contracted dropsy and died on the last day of 1877.

In a letter written to a friend in 1850, Gustave Courbet announced that "in our so very civilized society it is necessary for me to live the life of a savage. I must be free even of governments. The people have my sympathies, I must address myself to them directly." These words shed considerable light on Courbet's art — and not just because Courbet's subjects aren't always the predictable, socially acceptable ones. There's something direct and even savage (if by that we mean unconventional) in the way Courbet attacks the canvas: in the way he sponges or scrapes the paint, juxtaposes areas that are more or less realistically handled, and frames or arranges figures and objects in unexpected ways.
      The risk factor in Courbet's work is, aesthetically speaking, very high. It is exciting to try to figure out how Courbet achieved some of his effects — how he worked the paint to get those textures of water or snow; how he orchestrated his colors to create those mysteriously beautiful flesh tones or those lowering gray-day-at-the-beach skies. And what pulled us deeper and deeper into the work was the extent to which, more times in paint than we would imagine, the gambles panned out, and the crazy handling, the odd perspectives, the idiosyncratic color combinations coalesced into masterpiece-level paintings. There were many, many points in the show where Courbet seemed to be telling us, "To hell with convention." Courbet challenges — and defies — our expectations; but he does so in the name of preservation and continuation. The approach to painting is radical; but — in the sense that Courbet is trying to find new ways to attain the heights he recognizes in Rembrandt and Chardin — conservative, too.
      In French painting, paint is emotion, the manipulation of materials is the expression of feelings. In the tragic Self-portrait at Sainte Hagie (1872) Courbet shows himself in prison following his involvement with the Commune of 1871. He also painted a host of nudes, including the famous study of lesbians, The Sleepers (1866); and still lifes of apples, which look back to Chardin and forward to Cézanne.
      In the early 1850s Courbet, who was in his early thirties, was making his most audacious assaults on conventional taste. Without the two oversized compositions of the 1850s, The Burial at Ornans (1850) and The Painter's Studio (1855), and some of the studies of peasant life, The Stone Breakers (1850) and The Peasants of Flagey Returning from the Fair (1855) Courbet would appear a more private personality than he obviously actually was. And yet Courbet's greatness is not really based on a few large, invented figure compositions but on the high level of originality that he brought to a wide range of subjects, generally treated in easel-painting sizes.
      The Burial at Ornans isn't really topnotch Courbet; the downbeat mood of the story is carried over too much into a pictorial dullness — that dark frieze of figures just goes on and on, uninteresting, uneventful. And while The Studio is, area by area, a succession of little masterpieces, it never really adds up to a masterful whole. (The Studio is unfinished.) In the context of the galleries of the Louvre, where The Burial and The Studio hung before their transfer to the Musée d'Orsay, it was quite clear that Delacroix, not Courbet, was the final artist to feel at ease when working on a monumental scale. Tackling a three- or five-meter canvas in The Death of Sardanapalus (1827) and The Massacre at Chios (1823), Delacroix is totally in control — his arabesques and twisting rhythms expand to fill the space. Courbet's grasp of composition is more episodic and eccentric; his finest paintings have an effect of strangeness and surprise that's probably irreconcilable with the idea of the wall-sized masterpiece.
^      Courbet painted landscapes, portraits, nudes, and still lifes off and on all through his life. From the very start, with his youthful self-portraits, to the very end, with paintings of heaps of apples, he managed to give each subject a unique, freestanding value. Even when working on various versions of a single motif — as in the seascapes — he avoided formulaic solutions. He certainly, never expected the kinds of techniques or structural ideas that work in a seascape to work in a landscape or a still life. He puts us in touch with the strangely awkward beauty of the landscape where he grew up — the Jura plateau in eastern France, through which the Doubs River winds, creating dramatic gorges and waterfalls. And he brings an equally deep but different sensitivity to the misty immensities of the Atlantic Ocean, which he visited as a tourist. Everywhere, one feels his supreme sense of scale, how the relation of tiny boa is to enormous cloud formations in the seascapes is every bit as exact and poetically right as the relation of trees, towns, and rock formations in the paintings of the Jura plateau. Courbet responds as completely to the frozen loneliness of an animal foraging in winter — in The Snowy Landscape with Boar (1867) — as he does to the little fishing boats at the Cliffs of Etretat, just after a storm.
      In a sense, Courbet is a promiscuous artist: he likes to imagine himself in the landscape of childhood, or in the hostile world of winter, or at the seashore. And this promiscuity jibes with the largeness of the personality that we know from the history books — of the man who got involved and messed up in political developments around the Commune, and who made dramatic gestures, as when, in anger over the rejection of some paintings from the Universal Exposition of 1855, he opened his own pavilion. But what the public histories don't really tell us is the extent to which the man could be authentic in different situations. That's what the paintings tell us. The bravado of the paint handling resolves into a perfect transparency of expression.
—     Courbet a sa légende, dont il ne faut être qu'à moitié complice. Le réaliste, l'apôtre du laid", le tombeur de la colonne Vendôme ne sont qu'un des profiles d'une peinture aussi riche que contradictoire. "Sans idéal ni religion", proclamait-il, mais avant tout, peintre. Au publiciste Francis Way, il déclare : "je peins comme un dieu", et cet orgueil, souvent moqué, manifeste dans son goût presque narcissique de l'autoportrait, est celui d'un homme à l'extraordinaire métier, dont les ambitions, mêmes confuses, sont toujours sauvées par la réussite picturale.
      La part, chez Courbet, de l'atavisme familial et géographique est évidente. Le père, mi-hobereau, mi-paysan, un "cudot", synonyme franc-comtois de "chimérique", le grand père maternel, fidèle aux principes de 1789, la mère, prudente et avisée, expliquent beaucoup de la psychologie complexe du peintre. Quant à Ornans et à la vallée de la Loue, le peintre y trouvera une source continue d'inspiration.
      Sa vocation s'affirme très tôt. Après des études quelconques au petit séminaire d'Ornans, puis à Besançon où il s'initie à la peinture et pratique la lithographie, il va à Paris, en 1840, pour faire son droit, en vérité pour peindre. Ses débuts sont obscurs; on sait qu'il fréquente plusieurs ateliers en élève libre. Mais, s'il s'échappe au cursus académique, on ne doit assurément pas sous-estimer la formation et la culture du jeune Courbet. Les oeuvres des années 1840-1848, que l'on peut qualifier par leur sujet (Guitarrero, 1845) ou par leur manière (L'homme à la pipe, 1846) de romantique, surprennent par la qualité immédiate du métier, la complexité des influences : italiens, des Venise à Naples, espagnols, nordiques sont les modèles auxquels le peintre se réfère. Dans Courbet au chien noir, 1842, l'autorité de la mise en page, l'élégance du contour enfermant l'animal et son maître, la simplicité de l'effet clair-obscur, la clarté enfin du paysage sont d'un peintre savant qui rend autant d'hommages à Bellini, Titien et même Bronzino. Avec un arsenal narratif réduit à l'extrême, les amants dans la campagne (deux versions) sont d'un lyrisme sans fadeur, immédiatement populaire.
      Le peintre s'affirme au salon de 1849. Parmi les sept toiles qu'il envoi, si l'homme à la ceinture de cuir , "étude des Vénitiens" comme il est précisé, reste dans la lignée des autoportraits précédents, l'Après-dîner à Ornans apporte quelque chose de nouveau. Cette réunion d'amis surprend par son format; Courbet oser traiter en grand la scène du genre. Aussi bien, l'influence d'un voyage fait en hollande en 1848 a-t-elle été décisive : "Rembrandt charme les intelligences et il étourdit les imbéciles, Van Ostade, Van Craesbeek me séduisent." Le romancier et critique Champfleury ne s'y trompe pas et égare l'oeuvre "aux grandes assemblées de bourgmestres de Van der Helst". Le rapprochement est à moitié juste (Courbet était plus prés des peintres monochromes que du brillant de Van der Helst), et le tableau trop sombre à mal vieilli, mais il sacrait un peintre original, depuis toujours étranger à l'idéalisme ingresque, désormais libéré du romantisme.
      Avec l'Enterrement à Ornans (Salon de 1850-51), objet de scandale et succès à la fois, la légende de Courbet est formée. Rassemblement de portraits (Les habitants d'Ornans, du maire au fossoyeur, ont posés), l'Enterrement sidère par sa vérité autant que par son format. Un épisode banal est traité avec le même soin et la même attention psychologique que le Sacre de Napoléon par David. Les réaction sont violentes : " Est-il possible de peindre des gens si affreux " demandent des bourgeois dans un dessin de Daumier. " Accès farouche de misanthropie ", " ignobles caricatures inspirant le dégoût et provocant le rire ", telles sont les appréciations de la critique.
      Faire vrai ce n'est rien pour être réaliste, c'est faire laid qu'il faut, rime Théodore de Banville. Le contresens que l'oeuvre de Courbet n'allait cesser de susciter est là. En fait, l'Enterrement est une page d'humanité où Courbet, avec une attention scrupuleuse et la sympathie d'un " pays ", montre comment un village réagit devant la mort. " Est-ce la faute du peintre, dit Champfleury, si les intérêts matériels, les égoïsmes sordides, la mesquinerie de province clouent leurs griffes sur la figure, éteignent ces yeux, plissent les fronts? " Mais Courbet n'a oublié ni l'émotion ni l'affliction vraie, et sa comédie humaine est aussi complexe que celle de Balzac. la leçon satirique, le jugement moral sont second; le réel, en fait, est magnifié, devient vérité générale grâce à la largeur du traitement, à la science du groupement désordonné des assistants, au lyrisme de la couleur : Vélasquez et Hals peuvent être évoqués.
      Désormais, Courbet est sacré par la critique comme le chef des réaliste aux côtés de Champfleury. Les provocations du personnage, les propos tenus à la brasserie Andler, lieu de réunion du cénacle, expliquent la célébrité tapageuse qui va être celle de l'école. Mais il faut n'accepter qu'avec prudence les appellations. Lorsque Courbet, à l'Exposition internationale de 1855, décidera hardiment d'organiser une présentation séparée de ses oeuvres, il s'expliquera dans la préface de son catalogue : " Le titre de réaliste m'a été imposé comme on a imposé aux hommes de 1830 le titre de romantiques. Etre a même de traduire les moeurs, les idées, l'aspect de mon époque, selon mon appréciation, en un mot faire de l'art vivant, tel est mon but. " Aussi bien Courbet voit-il avant de penser. Les casseurs de pierres (Salon de 1850-51, détruit à Dresde durant la 2ème guerre mondiale) peinture socialiste selon Proudhon, sont nés d'abord d'une rencontre, d'une vision de misère sur une route: " C'est sans le vouloir, simplement en peignant ce que j'ai vu, que j'ai soulevé ce qu'ils appellent la question sociale."
     Un "oeil", avait dit Ingres de Courbet, et il semble bien que le goût de peindre soit premier. Les demoiselles de village (Salon de 1852) sont bien un sujet social, l'aumône des soeurs du peintre à une gardeuse de vaches, mais l'essentiel pour l'artiste était un problème pictural, celui d'intégrer des personnages dans un site. De même le tableau des Baigneuses , cravaché dit-on par Napoléon III au Salon de 1853, est il presque détaché du sujet. Quoi de plus académique qu'un nu dans un paysage ? "La vulgarité des formes ne serait rien, c'est la vulgarité et l'inutilité de la pensée qui sont abominables", note Delacroix dans son Journal, rejoignant Ingres et annonçant Baudelaire dans une paradoxale mais compréhensible alliance contre une peinture aussi désintéressée et "antisurnaturaliste". Les baigneuses furent achetées par Alfred Bruyas, collectionneur sensible et distingué, que tout aurait dû séparer de Courbet, si ce n'est l'amour de la peinture; la rencontre, admirable tableau de plein air, moqué pour le narcissisme du sujet, est un hommage mérité à un véritable amateur.
      En même temps, sous l'influence de Proudhon, comme poussé par sa propre réputation, Courbet se convainc qu'il est un peintre socialiste et participe à la rédaction du Principe de l'art et de sa destination sociale (1865), qui propose une nouvelle lecture de son oeuvre : ainsi la nudité déformée des Baigneuses devient un avertissement des dangers de la vie paresseuse et débilitante de la bourgeoisie; les Demoiselles des bords de la Seine (Salon de 1857) sont une image de l'univers triste du luxe.
      L'Atelier du peintre, "allégorie réelle, intérieur de mon atelier, déterminant sept années de ma vie artistique" (exposition de 1855) est une ambitieuse synthèse de l'idéologie de Courbet. L'échec relatif vient de ce que la transcription symbolique reste confuse et que on est surtout sensible à des "morceaux" , comme celui de la femme nue qui regarde Courbet peindre. Le retour de la conférence (Salon de 1863, détruit) lourde sotie qui montre des curés en goguette après un bon dîner, est trop picaresque pour être réaliste : la volonté de satire empêche ici la réussite franche.
      Paradoxalement, Courbet triomphe avec les tableaux sans "problèmes".La femme au perroquet (New York, Metropolitan Muséum) appelle pour Jules Antoine Castagnary la comparaison avec Titien, tandis que les troublantes Dormeuse (1866) et l'origine du monde savent séduire l'ambassadeur de Turquie Khalil Bey, acheteur du Bain turc d'Ingres. Les grandes composions comme le Combat des cerfs, la Remise des chevreuils (1861 et 1866), l'Hallali du cerf (1867) valent à Courbet ses francs succès populaires. Il y montre tout son savoir de la nature et des animaux, confirmé par des séjours dans les forêts germaniques, avec une verve et une facilité quelquefois un peu lâchées.
      Le peintre à succès mérite alors la Légion d'honneur, que le socialiste olympien n'hésite pas à refuser. La guerre de 1870, les événements de la Commune vont bouleverser le cours de la vie de Courbet. Président de la commission nommée par les artistes pour veiller à la conservation des musées et richesses d'art, il joue le rôle d'un directeur des beaux-arts. Il se signale avec la pétition du 14 septembre 1870 demandant le déboulonnage de la colonne Vendôme, "monument dénué de toute valeur artistique, tendant à perpétuer par son expression les idées de guerre et de conquêtes que réprouve le sentiment d'une nation républicaine"; il est présent lorsqu'on abat la Colonne le 16 mai 1871. Après l'effondrement de la Commune, Courbet le "révolutionnaire" est arrêter et traduit en conseil de guerre. Condamné à six mois de prison, il purge sa peine à Sainte-Pélagie. Là, le peintre donne certains de ses tableaux les plus savoureux de texture, en particulier une série de natures mortes aux fruits, ou peint de mémoire marines et paysages avec un dépouillement et un amour qui émeuvent.
      La suite des sa vie est marquée par le souci de ses dettes; on le refuse au salon de mai 1873; lorsque l'Assemblée adopte le projet de reconstruction de la colonne Vendôme et que Courbet est rendu solidaire des frais, il doit s'exiler en Suisse. La vente judiciaire de 1877 l'accable, et il meurt le 31 décembre. "Ne le plaignons pas, il à traversé les grands courants, il a entendu battre comme des coups de canon le coeur d'un peuple et il a fini en pleine nature, au milieu des arbres", dira en guise d'oraison funèbre cet autre réfractaire que fut Jules Vallès.
— The students of Courbet included Henri Fantin-Latour, E. L. Henry, Olaf Isaachsen.


–- Self~Portrait (43x35cm; half-size, 72kb _ .ZOOM to full size, 263kb) (you may want to increase the brightness of your screen for this one)
Portrait of the Artist, called "The Wounded Man" (1854 _ ZOOM)
The Cellist, Self-Portrait (1847, 117x90cm)
Self-Portrait (Man with a Pipe) (1849)
–- Courbet au Chien Noir (832x1100pix, 64kb _ ZOOM to 1683x1400pix, 615kb)
–- Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet aka La Rencontre (1854; 958x1080pix, 84kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1591pix, 645kb) _ Out on his way to some plein air painting, Courbet meets the art philanthropist Alfred Bruyas and his servant.)
–- Landscape in the Jura (1864, 72x91cm; 3/20 size, 51kb _ .ZOOM to 3/10 size, 180kb _ .ZOOM+ to 3/5 size, 681kb)>
–- Le bois aux biches au bord du ruisseau de Plaisir-Fontaine (1866, 174x209cm; 838x1007pix, 151kb _ .ZOOM to 1676x2012pix, 376kb)
— different Deer in the Forest (1868, 131x98cm; 944x694pix, 556kb _ ZOOM to 2307x1696pix, 3603kb)
Falaises d'Etretat–- Chute d'Eau (823x1255pix, 102kb)
–- La Vague (774x1097pix, 177kb)
–- Vagues (985x1229pix, 110kb)
–- Les Falaises d'Étretat (721x900pix, 55kb)
–- Bords de la Seine(809x973pix, 45kb)>
–- Enterrement à Ornans (1850, 314x663cm; 800x1752pix, 134kb _ ZOOM to 1400x3076pix, 1040kb)
–- Cribleuses de blé (772x1068pix, 100kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1784pix, 624kb)
Le studio de l'artiste - Allégorie réelle: occupant sept ans de ma vie artistique et morale (1855; 682x1169pix, 152kb _ ZOOM to 1400x2411pix, 879kb)
Alfred Bruyas (1853; 600x469pix, 88kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1095pix, 328kb)
Château d'Ornans (1855, 82x117cm; quarter-size; 826x1186pix, 619kb _ ZOOM to half-size 1653x2393pix, 2810kb) _ The country around Courbet's native town of Ornans, in eastern France, inspired most of his paintings. Like his contemporaries who worked near Barbizon, Courbet revitalized the landscape tradition with views of distinctive regional features observed at first hand. The town of Ornans appears in the valley below.
Juliette Courbet (1844; 600x497pix, 135kb _ ZOOM to 1400x1159pix, 462kb) the artist's sister; monochrome brown.
The Young Ladies of the Village (1852)
The Sleeping Spinner (1853)
The Fox in the Snow (1860)
Beach Scene, (1874, 38x55cm) _ Painted later in life than many of his beach scenes, this picture of the shores of Lake Geneva was made when Courbet was in exile in Switzerland. Its composition refers back to the ‘sea landscapes’ he painted in the 1860s, although here one small figure appears on the shore. Courbet uses minimal colors to convey the mood and the natural elements, while the style of this work is more refined than his previous paintings of similar subjects.
Low Tide at Trouville, (1865, 60x73cm) _ This is a particularly harmonious painting in terms of color and mood. It was painted during Courbet’s 1865 trip to Trouville, and shows the artist experimenting with ways of creating depth on a two-dimensional surface. The salmon-pink horizon constitutes over a third of the painting, dissolving into softer pinks, grey and blue for the sky and to browner tones for the beach. At this stage in his career Courbet was very much influenced by Whistler, whose seascapes show great attention to the blending of color.
The Wave (1871, 46x55cm) _ Although Courbet would have observed waves breaking, it is obviously inconceivable for any painter to sketch or paint one particular wave. Its motion, although repetitive, is never identical, and (until the development of snapshot photography) impossible to capture. A wave represents one moment in time – here in thickly laid-on paint, the crest of the wave curls over and crashes towards the front of the painting. This creates a sense of immediacy for the viewer, as if we are witnessing the wave spilling towards us.
L'Eternité (1865, 65x79cm) _ This intense and melancholy painting is painted over a dark ground (or underlayer) which explains its somber tone; as Courbet himself said: ‘Nature without the sun is also dark and black. I do as the light does, I illuminate the parts that project and the picture is done’. The title draws our attention to the vast expanse of sea and sky, its timelessness and our own relative inconsequence.
Le Pont d'Ambrussum (1857; 600x809pix _ ZOOM to 1400x1888pix, 970kb)
Le Repas de Chasse aka L'Hallali du Chevreuil (1858; 600x945pix _ ZOOM to 1400x2206pix, 1711kb)
Pêcheur au bord de la Loue
The Bathers (1853)
The Sleeping Spinner (1853)
The Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine (Summer) (1857; _ ZOOM)
The Oak at Flagey (The Oak of Vercingétorix) (1864)
The Source of the Loue (1864)
Jo, the Beautiful Irish Girl (1865)
Seacoast (1865)
Sommeil (1866; 558x829pix)
A Thicket of Deer at the Stream of Plaisir-Fontaine (1866)
Daims sur un escarpement enneigé
Biches dans la neige (1867)
La diligence dans la neige
Le renard dans la neige (1860)
La neige dans les bois (1875)
Neige (1874)
Braconniers dans la neige (1867)
Falaises sous la neige (1870)
Woman with a Parrot (1866, 130x190cm; 588x886pix, 70kb)
— The real, abstract, clean, honest L'Origine du monde (2004; 450x600pix, 116kb _ ZOOM to 1050x1400pix, 1264kb) by “Eva Tsug-Tebrouk” replaces Courbet's X-rated misnamed L'Origine du monde (1866) because this is a site that avoids anything that might be considered unsuitable for children, though young children are more likely to be disgusted rather than harmed by such pictures, which are more unsuitable for adult men, and most unsuitable for teenaged boys. Courbet's painting is deceptively named, as it does not show the origin of the world, but, presumably with the intention of shocking, features prominently the (very hairy in this case) anatomical part out of which a human comes out at birth.
Count de Choiseul's Greyhounds (1866)
The Woman in the Waves (1866)
The Source (1868)
The Cliff at Etretat after the Storm (1869)
Still Life with Apples and Pomegranate (1872)
Still Life: Fruit (1872)
The Trout (1872)
155 images at the Athenaeum230 images at Bildindex

^ Born on 31 December 1751: Johann Baptist (or Giambatista) Lampi I, in Austrian South Tyrol (now under Italian rule), artist active in Austria, Italy, Poland, and Russia, who died on 11 February 1830 in Vienna.
— He was the youngest son among the 14 children of Matthias Lampi [1698–1780], a minor church and decorative painter, and his wife, Klara Margarete Lorenzoni. After early training by his father, he went to Salzburg (1768–1870) to study under his uncle Peter Anton Lorenzoni [1721–1782], who painted altarpieces. In Salzburg he probably also received instruction in historical and portrait painting from Franz Xaver König [1711–1782] and Franz Nikolaus Streicher [1738–1811]. Between 1770 and 1773 he studied in Verona under Francesco Lorenzi [1723–1787], a student of Giambattista Tiepolo. Lampi became a member of the Accademia di Belle Arti in Verona in 1773; during this time he painted several works for churches in the Verona–Trento area and also painted frescoes, for example the ceiling (1772) of the Assunta in Romeno. Influenced at first by the late Baroque style of the Tiepolo school, Lampi gradually began to adopt a classicizing approach, as in the altarpiece Christ on the Cross (1779). However, his work was inclined to be dry and academic, and his only successful religious picture, with its simplified forms and subdued coloring, is the Dead Christ (1779).
     Of his three sons and four daughters, Johann Baptist Lampi II [04 Mar 1775 – 17 Feb 1837] and Franz Xaver Lampi [22 Jan 1782 – 22 Jul 1852] were the most important artists. Johann Baptist the younger followed in his father’s footsteps as a portrait painter, and his style is often indistinguishable from the latter’s. Franz Xaver is also noted as a portrait painter. Johann Baptist Matthias Edler von Lampi [1807–1857], the son of Johann Baptist the younger, was a painter working in Vienna. — Besides his children, JB Lampi I had among his students Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Eustatie Altini, Vladimir Borovikovsky, Franz Eybl, Peter Fendi.

Catherine II (1793; 122kb) _ Catherine II [02 May 1729 – 17 November 1796] was a German-born empress of Russia (from 1762), who led her country into full participation in the political and cultural life of Europe, carrying on the work begun by Peter the Great [09 Jun 1672 – 08 Feb 1725]. With her ministers she reorganized the administration and law of the Russian Empire and extended Russian territory, adding the Crimea and much of Poland.
Prince Nikolay Yusupov _ Nikolai Borisovich Yusupov [1751-1831] was a Russian statesman, minister of lands, member of the State Council, diplomat, director of the glass and porcelain plants of Saint-Petersburg, director of the Imperial Theaters, curator of the Hermitage, collector. In Italy he bought paintings and sculptures for Catherine II.
Le comte Stanislas Félix Potocki et ses deux fils (1789, 138x119cm) _ Le comte Potocki [1745-1805], entouré de ses deux fils Félix-Georges Potocki [1776-1810] et Stanislas Potocki [1872-1831], est ceint du grand cordon bleu de l'ordre polonais de l'Aigle blanc, qu'il reçu en 1775. Le tableau avait pour pendant un portrait de la comtesse Potocka.
The architect La Tour (1790, 75x61cm; 700x520pix)

Died on a 31 December:

1984 Luciano Jaramillo Trujillo [28 Nov 1938–], Colombian painter. —(091230)

^ 1970 Henry de Waroquier, French painter, sculptor, and printmaker, born on 08 January 1881 in Paris on the rue Lafitte, very near the important art galleries of Ambrose Vollard and Durand-Ruel. It was in the windows of these galleries that as a youth he discovered the works of the French Impressionists. Also in the neighborhood was a store which featured the art of the Far East. Both the Impressionists and the art of Japan were important early influences on his work. As a young man, de Waroquier was drawn both to the study of art and of biology, finally choosing the former. He studied in Paris at the School of Decorative Arts, and privately with the architect Charles Genuys and the painter and scholar Louis Ménard. In 1901, de Waroquier was given a Grand Prize for ornament design, and that same year he began to travel in Brittany doing paintings and drawings in which the Impressionist and Japanese influences mingled. In 1903, he was named professor of composition at the Estienne School of Art and Industry in Paris. From the beginning of the 20th century, de Waroquier exhibited prominently in the annual Salon exhibitions in Paris, most notably in the Salon d’Automne, of which he eventually became president, and in the Salon des Tuilleries and the Salon des Artistes Indépendants. He had many one-man shows in Paris and elsewhere. In 1946, the museum in Zurich mounted an extensive retrospective of his work, and in 1952 the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris held an exhibition of fifty of his sculptures. In 1955, the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris put on an exhibition of his engravings. One of his most important works is the mural, Tragédie, which he painted for the Universal Exhibition of 1937 in the Palais de Chaillot.
Oiseaux (drawing 27x21cm; 500x441pix, 29kb)
La Salute à Venise (49x36cm; 340x250pix, 15kb)
La ville espagnole (1917, 97x130cm; 441x591pix, 82kb)
Paysage crucifère, Espagne (1917, 97x130cm; 441x587pix, 82kb)
Jeune homme au repos (1933, 121x87cm; 594x415pix, 68kb) —(051229)

^ 1911 (18 Dec Julian) Grigory Grigor'yevich Myasoyedov, Russian painter born on 19 April 1834. The son of a small village landowner, he studied from 1853 to 1862 at the Saint-Petersburg Academy of Art under Timofey Andreyevich Neff [1805–1876] and Aleksey Tarasovich Markov [1802–1878]. At the end of the 1850s he became friendly with Ivan Kramskoy and his circle of progressive students. Myasoyedov had his first significant success with the painting Congratulating the Young People in the Landowner’s House (1861), which is done within the traditions of idyllic genre painting of the 1850s. In the competition for the Grand Gold Medal in 1862 Myasoyedov submitted the historical work The Flight of Grigory Otrep’yev from the Tavern on the Lithuanian Border, inspired by a scene in Pushkin’s drama Boris Godunov. The picture, an attempt at social and historical authenticity, won the artist a six-year scholarship to France, Germany and Italy. In Florence in 1867 Myasoyedov became acquainted with the artist Nicolay Ge and his circle of liberal Russian intellectuals, students and admirers of the writings of Alexander Hertzen and Mikhail Bakunin. In 1869 Myasoyedov and Ge, among others, put forward the idea of forming the Peredvizhniki (“Wanderers”, actually founded in 1870), with support from Moscow and Saint-Petersburg realist artists. From this time Myasoyedov was intimately involved with the affairs of the Wanderers, and he remained an active member and exhibitor to the end of his life. Myasoyedov became an Academician in 1870, and the decade 1870–1879 was a time of great public acclaim for him. With Konstantin Savitsky, Vasily Maksimov and Il’ya Repin, he formed the main principles of Wanderers realism in genre painting: an obligatory socio-analytical approach to the subject, with clearly expressed sympathy towards the peasantry. In the painting of the Zemstvo at Dinner (1872), his most significant work, he laid bare the roots of social inequality in pre-reform Russia. In numerous works he created a broad gallery of impressive and dignified peasant characters; the beauty and grandeur of peasant labor in The Scythers (1887), for example, transforms them and humanizes nature. The style of Myasoyedov’s genre paintings is distinguished by its emotional restraint and severity, and by the accentuated ordinariness of his serious, down-to-earth narrative. He constantly adopted historical subject-matter, as in The Self-immolators (1884), and he painted portraits and landscapes. During the 1890s Myasoyedov, who had proved unable to adopt the new ideals of the young factions of the Wanderers, occupied an inflexible conservative position in the association, for which he was criticized. — Portrait of Myasoyedov (1872; 810x484pix, 20kb) by Kramskoy [08 Jun 1837 – 06 Apr 1887].
Zemstvo at Dinner (Dinner of Peasants) (1872; 800x444pix, 70kb)
Inspecting a Prospective Bride (400x630pix, 63kb)
Harvesting (1887; 368x640pix, 61kb)

1889 Joseph Pierre Olivier Coomans, Belgian painter born (main coverage) on 28 July 1816. —(051229)

^ 1864 August-Karl-Friedrich von Kloeber, German artist born on 21 August 1793.
Ludwig von Beethoven (1818 drawing; 95kb) —(051229)

^ =1698 Joost (or Jan) van Geel, Dutch painter born on 20 October 1631.
–- A Dutch Interior (33x29cm; 1118x947pix, 85kb) more precisely: Woman seated at a table in a Dutch interior. —(061229)

^ 1679 Ottmar Elliger I, Swedish-born (08 September 1633) German painter of still-lifes of flowers and fruits. He studied under Daniel Seghers in Antwerp, then worked in Amsterdam about 1660 before settling in Hamburg in 1666 and entering the service of the Great Elector Frederick William of Brandenburg in Berlin in 1670. He was the father of Ottmar Elliger II [19 Feb 1666 – 19 Feb 1735].
–- Still Life with sprigs of guelder-rose and forget-me-nots (800x621pix, 54kb _ .ZOOM to 1400x1086pix, 119kb) it is on sculpted marble ledge, and there are red admiral butterflies and a cabbage white, and two large scarabs who are not still, but eating the leaves. —(061230)

^ 1676 Nicolaes “Klaes” Molenaer, Dutch painter born before 1630. — Relative? of Jan Miense Molenaer [1610 – 19 Sep 1668 bur.]? — LINKS
–- Winter Landscape With Skaters (897x1307pix, 131kb) they are on a frozen river before a house; children are playing kolf (an ancestor of golf) in the foreground.
–- People in a Landscape With a Bleaching Field (596x800pix, 36kb)
River Landscape (600x824pix)
Outside the town wall (1660, 51x40cm; 750x584pix, 58kb) almost monochrome brown.
Landscape with sportsmen (30x26cm; 750x578pix, 59kb) monochrome brown.
–- Scandinavian Landscape with People Outside a Tavern by a Waterfall (76x107cm; 349x527pix, 54kb) —(061229)

Born on a 31 December:

1869 Henri Matisse, French painter who died (full coverage) on 03 November 1954. —(051102)

1864 Hans am Ende, German painter whose end on this Earth came on 09 July 1918 (from wounds he suffered fighting on the wrong side in WWI)..

^ 1861 René François Xavier Prinet, French artist who died on 01 February 1946.
Le Salon de l'Artiste (1900; 72x60cm; 1192x957pix, 714kb).
La plage de Cabourg (59x92cm; 391x600pix, 24kb). _ Elève de Gérôme, Courtois, et Dagnan-Bouveret, portraitiste et peintre d'intérieurs recherché de la société parisienne, peintre d'histoire et de scènes religieuses, distingué au Salon en 1888 et en 1890, chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur cette même année, plus tard officier et membre de l'Institut, Prinet laisse encore de nombreuses vues de Cabourg et de la côte normande, qui doivent beaucoup à l'impressionnisme; elles forment sans doute le meilleur de son œuvre. Cabourg avait bénéficié au début de ce siècle d'une brusque mode parmi les stations balnéaires élégantes du nord de la France, au point d'apparaître comme une rivale de Trouville et de Deauville: son développement désordonné apparaît ici, où se succèdent, alignés de droite à gauche face à la mer, un manoir en brique et pierre de style Louis XIII, trois cottages normands à colombages, puis une vaste maison au toit à demi-croupe, dans le goût allemand. Le "Balbec" de la Recherche, largement inspiré de Cabourg - où Marcel Proust séjourna à de nombreuses reprises jusqu'en 1914 -, présente ce même front incohérent, fait de maisons particulières quelque peu prétentieuses. Bien avant de s'y rendre, le narrateur, qui s'en entretenait avec le baron de Norpois, dut surmonter "la tristesse d'avoir appris qu'un des attraits de Balbec résidait dans ses coquettes villas". Et lorsqu'il rend visite à Elstir, qui habite "une des avenues les plus nouvelles de Balbec", le narrateur s'efforce de "ne pas regarder le luxe de pacotilles des constructions qui se développent devant lui et entre lesquelles la villa d'Elstir est peut-être la plus somptueusement laide". — (051229)

1844 Ricardo Balaca y Orejas Canseco, Spanish painter who died (main coverage) on 12 February 1880. —(100211)

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