European Painting before 1900, Johnson Collection
Nude Reclining by the SeaMade in France, Europe
Gustave Courbet, French, 1819 - 1877
Oil on canvas
18 5/16 x 21 7/8 inches (46.5 x 55.6 cm)
Frame: 26 1/2 × 30 1/4 inches (67.3 × 76.8 cm)
* Gallery 154, European Art 1850-1900, first floor
1963-181-20The Louis E. Stern Collection, 1963
With Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, 1917; with Paul Rosenberg & Co., Paris, about 1933-34; confiscated by the ERR, 1941 ; Hermann Göring collection, selected from the Jeu de Paume September 14, 1941; recovered by the Allies at Berchtesgaden, May 1945; repatriated to France, April 18, 1946; restituted by the French government to Paul Rosenberg, New York, late 1940s ; sold to Louis E. Stern, New York, April 1, 1953; bequest to PMA, 1963.
1. The painting was assigned the ERR inventory number PR 137 according to a matching ERR card at the National Archives (RG 260, OMGUS Property Division, Misc. Records, ERR Card File, Box 19). The back of the painting is marked "ROSENBERG BORDEAUX", indicating that the painting was seized in April 1941 along with part of Rosenberg's collection stored in a bank vault in Libourne, near Bordeaux. The painting is included on an inventory and appraisal of the Rosenberg Libourne collection, as "Femme nue couchée sur fond de mer" (NARA RG 239, Entry 73, Box 82). Also on one of the stretchers is a typed label, in German, identifying the artist, title, the Rosenberg collection, and the date 2 December 1941 (probably the date on which it was shipped from Paris to Berlin). The ERR card is marked "HG" under the "Whereabouts" (Verbleib) section, indicating that it was selected by Hermann Göring. Other records at the National Archives (see copies in curatorial file provided by Nancy H. Yeide of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) confirm that Göring selected the painting from the Jeu de Paume on September 14, 1941 and that it was recovered with other objects in Göring's collection at Berchtesgaden in May 1945. It arrived at the Munich Central Collecting Point on August 1, 1945, where it was assigned Mun. no. 6125/Berchtesgaden 1077, and was repatriated to France on April 18, 1946.
2. A letter dated June 9, 1964 from Alexandre Rosenberg to Henry Gardiner states that "the Courbet was acquired from Bernheim-Jeune, Paris about 1933-34" and that "the picture belongs to the numerous groups of works of art looted during the war by the Germans, and restituted to us in the late forties." PMA Archives, Marceau Object Files; Stern, Louis E. (Collection); Research for Catalogue, H. Clifford plus Brooklyn Museum cat. and PMA Bulletin, 1964.
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