Friday, 5 November 2010

Proudhon's Property

Back in February I wrote a blog about the value of democracy and I received a comment questioning its condemnation. The anonymous author of the comment said that there was much to be said for "no government" along Proudhonian lines. I replied that Proudhon was famous for saying "la propriété, c'est le vol" but personal property is important to us.

Last week I was in the Musee d'Orsay and there is a portrait of Proudhon by Courbet and I wondered what Proudhon would think of the grandeur of his location. You don't get a painting in this museum unless it is really expensive. Perhaps Proudhon would be pleased that his portrait is not in a private collection and in that sense it does belong to the public. However it did cost me 8€ to look at it and even at this cost I hope Proudhon appreciates the irony of the cost of looking at his portrait. I don't think I will be driven to anarchy for 8€.

Change the world


  1. Proudhon also appears in Courbet's L'Atelier, which was discussed by Laura Cumming in 'Ego: The Strange and Wonderful World of Self-Portraits' (BBC4 yesterday evening, about 65 minutes from the start).

  2. Thanks for the info. In the Musee d'Orsay the portrait of Proudhon is opposite l'Atelier - at least it was last week.