Gustave Courbet (French, 1819–1877)
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 (29.100.122)
The Loue River originates from the mouth of a cave near Courbet's birthplace, Ornans in the Franche-Comté. It has been suggested that Courbet painted views of the source of the Loue with an eye to the art market, since the site was fast becoming a tourist attraction. These paintings may also be read as his Realist response to the allegorical "Sources"—female nudes holding a vessel from which water flows—that proliferated in the academic art on view at the Salons, as embodied by Ingres's Source of 1856 (MusÉe d'Orsay, Paris), which was exhibited in Paris in 1861.