Femme nue couchée  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Femme nue couchée[1] (Nude Reclining Woman) is a 1862 painting by French Realist painter Gustave Courbet (1819–1877). It depicts a young dark-haired woman reclining on a couch, wearing only a pair of shoes and stockings. Behind her, partly drawn red curtains reveal an overcast sky seen through a closed window. The work is likely influenced by Goya's La maja desnuda.

The painting was initially owned by Alexandre Berthier and later by Marcell Nemes. In 1913, it was bought by the Hungarian collector Ferenc Hatvany. At one time, he painted a copy of the painting and, as a practical joke, sent it to be exhibited as the original at a Belgrade exhibition. Together with the rest of Hatvany's collection, the painting was looted from a Budapest bank vault during the 1945 Soviet conquest of the city in World War II. After it was briefly seen attached to the tarpaulin of a Soviet military vehicle on Buda Castle Hill, the painting appeared to have vanished without a trace.

It surfaced again in 2000 and 2003, when it was offered for sale first to the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts and then to the Commission for Art Recovery (CAR) by a Slovak man claiming to be an antiques dealer, but who appeared to his interlocutors to be involved with the Slovak organised crime scene. The dealer produced an affidavit, judged reliable by the CAR, stating that the painting was given by Soviet soldiers to a doctor from a village near Bratislava in return for his medical treatment of a wounded soldier. An inspection of the picture's craquelure determined that the painting was indeed the original and not Hatvany's copy.

After five years of negotiations, Interpol involvement and diplomatic wrangling between the US and Slovakian government, the CAR managed to acquire the painting for Hatvany's heirs in exchange for a USD 300,000 reward. It was shown to the public for the first time since the 1930s in a 2007 Courbet exposition at the Grand Palais in Paris.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Femme nue couchée" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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