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Gustave Courbet

Rocks at Mouthier, ca. 1855

Oil on canvas
29 3/4 × 46 in
75.6 × 116.8 cm
location
Washington
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About the work
Provenance
Image rights
Image provided by the Phillips Collection
Gustave Courbet
French, 1819–1877
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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 exhibiting independently of the government-sponsored Paris Salon, Courbet paved the way for upcoming avant-garde movements, particularly Impressionism.

Save
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view
View in room
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Save
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view
View in room
share
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About the work
Provenance
Image rights
Image provided by the Phillips Collection
Gustave Courbet
French, 1819–1877
Follow

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 exhibiting independently of the government-sponsored Paris Salon, Courbet paved the way for upcoming avant-garde movements, particularly Impressionism.

Gustave Courbet

Rocks at Mouthier, ca. 1855

Oil on canvas
29 3/4 × 46 in
75.6 × 116.8 cm
location
Washington
Want to sell a work by this artist? Consign with Artsy.
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