Courbet painted this work during an intensely productive visit to Trouville with James McNeill Whistler from September until November 1865; in a letter to his father, the artist boasted that he had executed "thirty-five paintings" in a very short time, which "stunned everybody." In his choice of subject, Courbet followed in the wake of Eugène Isabey, Johan Barthold Jongkind, and Eugène Boudin; but unlike many of the canvases executed at the time, this fishing boat, rigged and filled with equipment, is the focus of the composition rather than a subordinate element. In 1899, this became the first work by Courbet to enter the Museum’s collection.
Inscription: Signed (lower left): Gustave Courbet.
Jean-Louis Dussol de Cette (by 1882–84; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, March 17, 1884, no. 29, as "Marine," for Fr 2,100); Mary Goldenberg, New York (until 1899)
Paris. Rond-Point du Pont de l'Alma. "Exposition des œuvres de M. G. Courbet," April 30–November 1867, no. 56 (as "La barque de pêcheurs [Trouville, 1865]").
Paul Martin. L'exposition de la Société des Amis des Arts de Marseille. Exh. cat., de Marseille. Marseilles, 1882, pp. 30, 35, ill.
Georges Riat. Gustave Courbet peintre. Paris, 1906, p. 230, lists it among 1865 seascapes included in Exh. Paris 1867.
Bryson Burroughs. Catalogue of Paintings. 1st ed. New York, 1914, p. 50, no. C83–1, calls it "Coast Scene".
Théodore Duret. Courbet. Paris, 1918, p. 149, as "Paysage de mer".
André Fontainas. Courbet. Paris, 1921, p. 75.
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 2, XIX Century. New York, 1966, p. 123, ill., call it "A Boat on the Shore," painted at Deauville.
Robert Fernier. La vie et l'oeuvre de Gustave Courbet. Vol. 1, Peintures, 1819–1865. Lausanne, 1977, pp. 264–65, no. 494, ill., as "Barque de pêcheurs".
John Pope-Hennessy inProfil du Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York: de Ramsès à Picasso. Exh. cat., Galerie des Beaux-Arts. Bordeaux, 1981, p. 99, no. 118, ill., calls it "Barque sur le rivage" and notes that it was painted at Trouville.
Pierre Courthion. L'opera completa di Courbet. Milan, 1985, p. 99, no. 460, ill. and colorpl. XXXI.
Roger Hurlburt. "Free Spirits." Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale) (December 20, 1992), p. 4D.
Christoph Heilmann inCorot, Courbet und die Maler von Barbizon: "Les amis de la nature". Ed. Christoph Heilmann, Michael Clarke, and John Sillevis. Exh. cat., Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen and Haus der Kunst München. Munich, 1996, pp. 172–73, no. B 46, ill. (color), dates it about 1865/66.
Laurence des Cars inGustave Courbet. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2008, pp. 294–95, no. 136, ill. (color) [French ed., Paris, 2007], dates it autumn 1865 and comments that the focus on the boat is rare among Courbet's seascapes; notes that it was the first Courbet to enter the MMA collection.