Non! French Mail Turns Down Request to Print ‘L’Origine Du Monde’ Stamps

Gustave Courbet, L'Origine du monde, 1866. Courtesy Musée d'Orsay

A group of zealous philatelists was denied the request to have Gustave Courbet’s notorious painting L’Origine du Monde printed on postal stamps, Le Figaro reported. The Société Philatelique et cartophile de Besançon was hoping to use the French mail’s personalizing service, known as ID, to print stamps celebrating the forthcoming exhibition of the painting at the Musée Gustave Courbet in Ornans. But La Poste deemed the image “pornographic” and forbid the move—even though it had already been approved by the local authorities. Here we are, 148 years on, and Courbet’s picture is still naughty, naughty, naughty.


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