Gustave Courbet
French, 1819-1877
High auction record
$15m, Christie's, 2015
Collected by major museums
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields
Selected exhibitions
Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art,
The National Gallery, London
French portrait drawings from Clouet to Courbet,
British Museum
Soulèvements (Uprisings),
Jeu de Paume

Iconoclastic and influential Realist painter Gustave Courbet is often regarded as the 19th century’s pioneering artist. Courbet rejected academic traditionalism and bourgeois convention, seeking conflict both artistically and socially with an aim to, as he has said, “change the public’s taste and way of seeing.” Instead of idealizing his subjects like his Romanticist contemporaries, he dedicated himself to showing things as they are, bluntly addressing themes like rural poverty, as in The Stone Breakers (1849), and human sexuality; his erotically portrayed nudes were received with scandal and even police attention. Courbet also emphasized the painting process, visible brush and palette work displacing the customarily seamless varnished canvas. Younger artists including Édouard Manet and James McNeill Whistler, among many others, enthusiastically adopted these technical liberties. By …

Read more
Want to sell a work by this artist? Learn more.
For sale
Time period