"The First Gray Hair"

Gustav Courgette

Courgette, in the best Depressionist style, recorded life's little downsides— physical shocks like the first gray hair, the crow's-feet, the hernia, failing vision, senility and general debility. Note "Man with Nose Hairs" (1861). Also social faux pas like the bounced check, the snub, the elevator fart, and similar embarrassments. His "Man Wearing Argyle Socks with Check Trousers" is an acknowledged masterpiece, capturing the dawning awareness of the man that he is the focal point of the snickering, not the woman with the pepperoni. 


Courgette is believed to have strongly influenced the American artist Art Frahm, who documented the effect of gravity (and sometimes celery) on the elastic of undergarments. 


Not much is known about Courgette. Even his autobiography was written by somebody else. Most of his contemporaries agreed that he was fat, though:

Claude Monet: "Man sure loved his food. Watched him one time in this all-you-can-eat place on the Rive Gauche. Dude put down 2 crown rib roasts and enough mashed potatoes to float a boat. Owner of the bistro was in tears, man!" 


Pablo Picasso: "I never knew him personally, but impersonally I thought he was a fat slob. Who else would bring a tub of custard to the opera?" 


Paul Cézanne: "Oy, Courgette! I had this nice still life one time, Study in Meat, Fish and Poultry, and the mamzer ate the whole schmeer while I was cleaning my brushes. And I still owed on the rump roast and herring! And it was Matjes, no less!" 


Max Ernst: "Y' know 'The Elephant Celebes', the' one wot I done wit' th' back side of a elephink?" Wol, 'at's th' front side of Courgette!"

"The First Gray Hair" was purchased by Pavel Gombitch, a Parisian hairdresser of Russian extraction, who for many years used it as a signboard outside his shop in Montmartre until he found out it was worth money.
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Acquisition made possible by a generous grant from L'Oreal®.

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