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Under the Roman Sun: Landscape, Brigands, and the Late Grand Tour


A Brook in a Clearing

Gustave Courbet (French, Ornans 1819–1877 La Tour-de-Peilz)

Oil on canvas
20 3/4 x 25 1/2 in. (52.7 x 64.8 cm)
Credit Line:
From the Collection of James Stillman, Gift of Dr. Ernest G. Stillman, 1922
Accession Number:
  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed (lower left): G. Courbet.

  • Provenance

    Gaudin (in 1863); Theodore Duret, Paris; Marczell de Nemes, Budapest (until 1913; his sale, Galerie Manzi, Joyant, Paris, June 18, 1913, no. 102, as "Ruisseau dans la forêt," for "Fr 4,100 sur demande de Fr 5,000" to Trotti); [Trotti, Paris, from 1913]; James Stillman, Paris and New York (until d. 1918); his son, Ernest Goodrich Stillman, New York (until 1922)

  • Exhibition History

    Saintes. Hôtel de Ville. "Exposition de peinture au profit des pauvres," January 15–February 11, 1863, no. 113 (as "Ruisseau à la rochecourbon," lent by Gaudin, possibly this picture) [see Fernier 1977, and Roger Bonniot, "Gustave Courbet en Saintonge," Paris, 1973, fig. 55].

    Budapest. Szépmüvészeti Múzeum. 1911 [see sale catalogue, Galerie Manzi, Joyant, Paris, June 18, 1913, no. 102].

    Paris. Palais des Beaux-Arts. "Exposition Gustave Courbet," May–June 1929, not in catalogue [see Gronkowski 1929].

    Newark Museum. "19th-Century French and American Paintings from the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 9–May 15, 1946, no. 8 (as "Pond in the Valley").

    Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences. "The Artist Looks at Nature," November 30, 1952–January 13, 1953, no. 21.

    Winnipeg Art Gallery. "French Pre-Impressionist Painters of the Nineteenth Century," April 10–May 9, 1954, no. 54.

    Palm Beach. Society of the Four Arts. "Paintings of the Barbizon School," January 6–29, 1962, no. 10.

    Little Rock. Arkansas Arts Center. "Five Centuries of European Painting," May 16–October 26, 1963, unnumbered cat. (p. 43, as "A Brook in a Clearing").

    Phoenix Art Museum. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art Loan Collection: 'The River and the Sea'," February 15, 1967–February 15, 1968, no. 4 (as "Pond in the Valley").

  • References

    George Sakier. "La Peinture française du XIXe siècle au 'Metropolitan Museum of Art' de New-York." L'Amour de l'art 7 (June 1926), p. 203, ill. p. 200, calls it "Mare dans la vallée".

    Camille Gronkowski. "L'exposition Courbet." Le Figaro artistique (May 2, 1929), p. 481, calls it "L'Etang dans la vallée" and notes its loan to Exh. Paris 1929.

    Five Centuries of European Painting. Exh. cat., Arkansas Arts Center. Little Rock, 1963, p. 43, ill., dates it "sometime between 1851 and 1856"; suggests that it was painted near Fontainebleau; notes the influence of the Barbizon painters.

    Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. "XIX Century." French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2, New York, 1966, pp. 109–10, ill., date it between 1851 and 1856; suggest that it was painted at Fontainebleau or in the neighborhood of Le Blanc, in the Indre.

    Robert Fernier. "Peintures, 1819–1865." La vie et l'oeuvre de Gustave Courbet. 1, Lausanne, 1977, pp. 188–89, no. 325, ill., calls it "Ruisseau, vallée de fontcouverte" or "L'Étang dans la clairière," and dates it 1862; identifies this picture as no. 113 in Exh. Saintes 1863, and reads the lender's name as Auguin in Courbet's manuscript notes added to the copy of the exhibition catalogue at the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.

    Pierre Courthion. L'opera completa di Courbet. Milan, 1985, p. 90, no. 312, ill.

    Petra ten-Doesschate Chu. The Most Arrogant Man in France: Gustave Courbet and the Nineteenth-Century Media Culture. Princeton, 2007, p. 147, fig. 110, states that it was probably painted in the Saintonge region and that it was once owned by the painter Louis-Augustin Auguin.

  • Notes

    A photograph of this painting is included in a collection of photographs of Courbet's work compiled by E. Duret ("Oeuvre de Courbet," Bibliothèque Nationale, Cabinet des Estampes, no. 24768, vol. 1).

  • See also