Gustave Courbet (French, Ornans 1819–1877 La Tour-de-Peilz)
Oil on canvas
19 5/8 x 23 7/8 in. (49.8 x 60.6 cm)
From the Collection of James Stillman, Gift of Dr. Ernest G. Stillman, 1922
Not on view
This picture dates to the last years of Courbet’s life, from 1873 to 1877, which he spent as an expatriate in Switzerland. Like many landscapes that he produced at this time, it is a variation on the artist’s earlier depictions of the beloved terrain of his native France. In order to pay his debts and to meet the growing demand for his work, Courbet often turned to members of his studio for assistance with such canvases. The present painting has been associated with the hand of his student Marcel Ordinaire (1848–1896).
Inscription: Signed (lower left): G. Courbet
Hendrick Adolf Steengracht van Duivenvoorde, The Hague (until d. 1912; posthumous sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, June 10, 1913, no. 4, as "Rivière et rochers"); James Stillman, Paris and New York (until d. 1918); his son, Ernest Goodrich Stillman, New York (until 1922)
New York. American Federation of the Arts. "A Landscape View of 19th Century France (circulating exhibition)," September 1, 1954–1957, no catalogue?
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Impressionism: A Centenary Exhibition," December 12, 1974–February 10, 1975, not in catalogue.
B[ryson]. B[urroughs]. "An Anonymous Gift." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 17 (March 1922), p. 55.
R. H. Wile[n]ski. French Painting. Boston, 1931, p. 224, dates it before 1855.
Gaston Delestre. Letter to Margaretta Salinger. March 10, 1962, doubts both the subject and the attribution, stating that the site depicted is not the Brook of the Black Well, and that it is painted by Cherubin Pata (1827–1899), a student and collaborator of Courbet.
Gaston Delestre. Letter to Margaretta Salinger. May 22, 1962, confirms that this picture does not depict the Brook of the Black Well, but rather a "paysage de composition"; now believes it more likely to have been painted by another student of Courbet, Marcel Ordinaire (1848–1896), perhaps in collaboration with Courbet, rather than by Pata.
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, pp. 122–23, ill., date it about 1864–65.