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A Portrait of Intimacy

A Portrait of Intimacy


Gustave-Claude-Etienne Courtois and Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret met at art school and shared a life together. Does their sensual, masculine figurative work tell the whole story?

The Belle Epoque (Beautiful Age) in France lasted from approximately 1871 to the beginning of World War I in 1914. Artists Gustave-Claude-Etienne Courtois and Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret created a vast output of work, both painting and photography smack-dab in the middle of one of the most creative periods of French history. They kept a fashionable studio together in Neuilly-sur-Seine from the 1880s.

They met as proteges of Jean-Leon Gerome at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and both artists were among the first to use photography as a supportive medium to inform their paintings.

Pascal-Adolphe-Jean Dagnan-Bouveret (January 7, 1852-July 3, 1929), was one of the leading French artists of the naturalist school. He was born in Paris, the son of a tailor, and was raised by his grandfather after his father emigrated to Brazil. He eventuallyadded his grandfather's name, Bouveret, to his own.

Courtois was born to an unwed mother who was devoted to him. Early in life, Courtois showed an interest in art and entered the Ecole Municipale de Dessin in Vesoul. His drawings were shown to Jean-Leon Gerome, and in 1869, Gerome encouraged Courtais to enter the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

Courtois used some of the most beautiful male models of his day. Both handsome and muscle-bound, Maurice Deriaz and his older brother, Emile, were the most famous of seven athletic brothers. They were born in Baulmes, Switzerland -- Maurice in 1885 -- but lived in France from an early age. Maurice was 5 foot 6 and weighed about 200 pounds. His neck was 19 inches around, his chest 48, and his waist 35. His thighs measured 26 inches, calves 16 and a half, forearms 14, and biceps 17. Courtois used Maurice Deriaz for many of his paintings, and Deriaz is most likely the model in the photograph of Courtois working in his studio.

Another of Courtois's favored models was fellow artist Carl Ernst von Stetten. Von Stetten (1857-1942) was Bavarian. He went to Paris in the 1870s for training and there met Courtois and Dagnan-Bouveret at the studio of Gerome; for Courtois and von Stetten, it was the beginning of a lifelong relationship. The young Stetten posed for several portraits and was a model for works by his friend (and possible lover).

Sources: Wikipedia,

Adam_et_eve_-_gustave_courtoisx633_0Adam and Eve, Gustave Courtois

See the following pages for more artwork and photographs. >>>

Courtois_st_sebastianx633_0 A study for St. Sebastian by Gustave Courtois

Narcissus_x633_0Narcissus, Gustave Courtois

Portrait-of-gustave-courtois-1884-by-pascal-dagnan-bouveretx633_0 Portrait of Gustave Courtois, 1884, by Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret

Portrait of the athlete Maurice Deriaz, 1907, by Gustave Courtois

Pascal-dagnan-bouveretx633_0 A figure study by Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret

Courtois_in_studio_0 Gustave Coutois in the studio with Maurice Deriaz, photograph probably taken by Dagnan-Bouveret

Gustave_courtois_hercules_at_the_feet_of_omphale_1912x633_0Hercules at the Feet of Omphale, 1912, model Maurice Deriaz, by Gustave Courtois

Pascal_adolphe_jean_dagnan_bouveret_studiox633_0 Most likely Courtois working in the photography studio, painted by Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret

Persee Delivrant Andromede, 1913, by Gustave Courtois with model Maurice Deriaz

Pascal_dagnan-bouveret_-_gustave_courtois_dans_son_atelierx633_0 Courtois in the studio, painted by Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret

Thedeathoforpheusx633_0The Death of Orpheus, Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret, 1866.

Pascal_dagnan_bouveret_seatedx633_0 Pascal Dagnan-Bouveret

Courtois_vanstettenx633_0 Gustave Courtois's favored model and fellow artist, Carl Ernst von Stetten, painted by Courtois

Themartyrdomofstmaurice_courtois_vanstettenx633_0The Martyrdom of St. Maurice by Gustave Courtois, and modeled by Carl Ernst von Stetten

Martydom_st_maurice_detailx633_0The Martyrdom of St. Maurice, detail

Courtois_vanstetten_stsebx633_0St. Sebastian by Gustave Courtois, modeled by Carl Ernst von Stetten

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