Gustave Courbet (French, Ornans 1819–1877 La Tour-de-Peilz)
Oil on canvas
39 1/4 x 56 in. (99.7 x 142.2 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 812
Courbet often painted the rocky grotto at the source of the Loue, the river that flows through his native village, Ornans, in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France. This view is probably one of four he mentioned to the dealer Luquet in the spring of 1864, when he wrote: "I've been to the source of the Loue these last days and made four landscapes about 1 meter 40."
Inscription: Signed (bottom center): G. Courbet
[Félix Gérard, père, Paris]; [Durand-Ruel, Paris, until 1872; sold to Schnabacher]; M. Schnabacher (from 1872); M. Darlu, Paris (until 1889; deposited at Durand-Ruel, Paris, May 16 deposit no. 6746, as "Rochers"; sold on August 21 for Fr 7,000 to Durand-Ruel); [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1889; stock no. 2448, as "La Loue"; sold on August 21 for Fr 15,000 to Havemeyer]; Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, New York (1889–his d.1907); Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer, New York (1907–d. 1929; cat., 1931, pp. 86–87, ill.)
Paris. Rond-Point du Pont de l'Alma. "Exposition des œuvres de M. G. Courbet," April 30–November 1867, no. 22 (as "La source de la Loue [Franch-Comté, 1864]," possibly this painting).
Paris. Durand-Ruel. "Exposition rétrospective des oeuvres de G. Courbet aux artistes Franc-Comtois," 1897 [see Fernier 1977].
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Loan Exhibition of the Works of Gustave Courbet," April 7–May 18, 1919, no. 16 (as "The Source of the Loue," lent anonymously).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The H. O. Havemeyer Collection," March 10–November 2, 1930, no. 30 [2nd ed., 1958, no. 89].
Baltimore Museum of Art. "An Exhibition of Paintings by Courbet," May 3–29, 1938, no. 12.
New York. World's Fair. "Masterpieces of Art: European & American Paintings, 1500–1900," May–October 1940, no. 263.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. "Six Centuries of Landscape," March 7–April 13, 1952, no. 46 (as "La source de la Loue").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27–June 20, 1993, no. A140.
Sydney. Art Gallery of New South Wales. "Body," September 12–November 16, 1997, no. 34 (as "The Source of the Loue").
Besançon. Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie. "Gustave Courbet et la Franche-Comté," September 23–December 31, 2000, no. 62 (as "Source de la Loue").
Los Angeles. J. Paul Getty Museum. "Courbet and the Modern Landscape," February 21–May 14, 2006, no. 23.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Courbet and the Modern Landscape," June 18–September 10, 2006, no. 23.
Baltimore. Walters Art Museum. "Courbet and the Modern Landscape," October 15, 2006–January 7, 2007, no. 23.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 26.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Gustave Courbet," February 27–May 18, 2008, no. 111.
Gustave Courbet. Letter to Jules Luquet. 1864 [published in P. D. Chu., ed., "Letters of Gustave Courbet," Chicago, 1992, p. 243], describes painting four versions of the source of the Loue, each about 140 cm wide.
Gustave Courbet. Letter to Étienne Baudry. June 2, 1875 [English transl. published in P. D. Chu, ed., "Letters of Gustave Courbet," Chicago, 1992, no. 75-11, p. 551], lists it among the paintings he recalls being stored at the Durand-Ruel gallery.
Georges Riat. Gustave Courbet peintre. Paris, 1906, pp. 217, 253, 386, ill. p. 97, as formerly in the Gérard collection; cites Ref. Courbet 1864, and lists one of the versions in the 1867 exhibition.
Charles Léger. Courbet. Paris, 1929, p. 106.
Frank Jewett Mather Jr. "The Havemeyer Pictures." The Arts 16 (March 1930), p. 477, ill. p. 445.
H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, pp. 86–87, ill., calls it "Landscape—La source de la Loue" and dates it about 1864.
W. Wartmann. "Die Grotte der Loue." Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft (1946), p. 33, pl. 8a, compares the various versions of the subject.
Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. New York, 1961, p. 194.
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. 122, ill.
Robert Fernier. La vie et l'oeuvre de Gustave Courbet. Vol. 1, Peintures, 1819–1865. Lausanne, 1977, p. 216, no. 387, ill. p. 217, dates it 1864.
Pierre Courthion. L'opera completa di Courbet. Milan, 1985, p. 94, no. 368, ill., calls it "La sorgente della Loue".
Frances Weitzenhoffer. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986, pp. 117, 257, pl. 72, notes that in 1897 Durand-Ruel had recently secured this painting for the Havemeyers.
Ann Dumas in Sarah Faunce and Linda Nochlin. Courbet Reconsidered. Exh. cat., Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn, 1988, pp. 153, 189, identifies the other three versions of the source of the Loue in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Hamburger Kunsthalle.
Douglas E. Edelson et al. inCourbet Reconsidered. Exh. cat., Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn, 1988, pp. 74, 85.
Jean-Luc Mayaud in "Courbet à découvert." Courbet et Ornans. Paris, 1989, p. 87, ill. p. 93 (color).
Klaus Herding. Courbet: To Venture Independence. New Haven, 1991, pp. 137–38, 245 n. 12, cites the source of the Loue series as an example of Courbet's dematerialization of the image through loosely painted structure.
Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. Ed. Susan Alyson Stein. 3rd ed. [1st ed. 1930, repr. 1961]. New York, 1993, pp. 186, 194, 329 n. 259, p. 330 n. 272, p. 342 n. 425.
Susan Alyson Stein inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 210.
Gretchen Wold inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 315, no. A140, ill. p. 314, adds early provenance information.
Anthony Bond, Sarah Faunce, Suzannah Biernoff, Caroline Butler-Bowdon inBody. Ed. Anthony Bond. Exh. cat., Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Melbourne, 1997, pp. 22, 24, 79 n. 16, pp. 105, 173, no. 34, fig. 17, date it about 1865.
Gustave Courbet et la Franche-Comté. Exh. cat., Besançon, Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie. Paris, 2000, p. 112, no. 62, ill (color), dates it between 1863 and 1864.
Valérie Bajou. Courbet. Paris, 2003, pp. 247–49, 415 n. 49, ill. (color).
Charlotte Eyerman in Mary Morton and Charlotte Eyerman. Courbet and the Modern Landscape. Exh. cat., J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles, 2006, pp. 82–83, 135, no. 23, colorpl. 23.
Kathryn Calley Galitz inThe Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 46, 200, no. 26, ill. (color and black and white).
Linda Nochlin. Courbet. New York, 2007, p. 196, fig. 87, calls it "Grotto of the Loue".
Charles Stuckey inThe Repeating Image: Multiples in French Painting from David to Matisse. Ed. Eik Kahng. Exh. cat., Walters Art Museum. Baltimore, 2007, pp. 97, 107.
19th Century European Paintings. Sotheby's, London. May 30, 2008, p. 254, under no. 321, fig. 1 (color), identifies lot no. 321 as the study for this painting.
Laurence des Cars inGustave Courbet. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2008, pp. 263, 266–68, no. 111, ill. (color) [French ed., Paris, 2007], calls the "Source of the Loue" series "the most personal of Courbet's responses to Ingres".
Klaus Herding inCourbet: A Dream of Modern Art. Ed. Klaus Herding and Max Hollein. Exh. cat., Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. Ostfildern, 2010, p. 214, under no. 60.
This composition exists in an etching by Charles Waltner [see Ref. Lemonnier 1878] and a wood engraving by F. L. Meaulle [see J. Bruno, "Les Misères des gueux," 1872, p. 8 (reversed; signed Meaulle d'ap. Courbet].
Courbet mentions in a letter of 1864 [see Ref.] that he painted four versions of the source of the Loue. The three others are in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Fernier no. 109), the National Gallery of Art, Washington (F393), and the Hamburger Kunsthalle (F394).