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Eyecatching inheritance Canton unveils long-lost Courbet painting

Gustave Courbet 'Paysage du Jura'

Gustave Courbet, Paysage du Jura, 1872, oil on canvas, 104x129 cm - until now, unknown

(République et canton du Jura/Pierre Montavon, rights reserved)

The canton of Jura has announced that it is inherited a previously unknown work by the French painter Gustave Courbet, called Paysage du Jura, from a Jura family.

Paysage du Jura, an oil painting from 1872 showing a stone bridge over a river in a lush gorge, will be shown at the Jura Museum of Art and Historyexternal link in the cantonal capital of Delémont, the canton said in a statementexternal link on Friday.

It was bequeathed to the canton by Hugo Berthold Saemann, who died in Zurich in 2015. The work was not known to any Courbet experts and did not feature in any catalogues raisonnés of the artist’s known works, but has been in the Saemann family for several generations.

According to the statement, the painting was most likely bequeathed due to the Delémont origins of the Saemann family. The donor’s grandfather was the director of the von Roll factories from 1891 to 1914.

The canton said that it was “very honoured” by the legacy and had accepted it in June 2017, after first checking its authenticity. This was reached via a study by art historian Niklaus Manuel Güdel who consulted renowned Courbet expert, the German professor Klaus Herding.

Courbet (1819-1877) was a French painter and leader of the Realist movement, whose bold style gave him a controversial reputation. His later paintings featured more traditional subjects. The painter lived in exile in Switzerlandexternal link from 1873 to avoid bankruptcy. He died in La Tour-de-Peilz in canton Vaud.

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