This landscape, probably painted in the mid-1850s, stands at the beginning of a long series of views of the countryside of Courbet’s native town. It may be identified by the distinctive church steeple rising above the cluster of houses along the banks of the river Loue. The cliff in the distance is the Roche du Mont. The bridge has traditionally been identified as that of the town of Scey-en-Varais, located a few miles downstream from Ornans. Courbet felt a deep connection to the rugged scenery of the Franche-Comté region, taking pride in his status as an outsider in the genteel confines of Paris.
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Title:View of Ornans
Artist:Gustave Courbet (French, Ornans 1819–1877 La Tour-de-Peilz)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:28 3/4 x 36 1/4 in. (73 x 92.1 cm)
Credit Line:Bequest of Alice Tully, 1993
Inscription: Signed (lower left): Gustave Courbet
Fiske Hammond, Boston; Rev. and Mrs. MacKinley Helm, Santa Barbara (until 1952; sold on November 26 to Rosenberg); [Paul Rosenberg, New York, 1952–53; stock no. 5474; sold on December 4, 1953 to Tully]; Alice Tully, New York (1953–d. 1993; bequeathed to MMA)
New York. Paul Rosenberg. "Gustave Courbet, 1819–1877," January 16–February 11, 1956, no. 2 (as "Landscape Near Ornans," lent by Miss. Alice Tully).
Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Gustave Courbet, 1819–1877," December 17, 1959–February 14, 1960, no. 46 (as "Le pont de Scey," lent by Alice Tully, New York).
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Gustave Courbet, 1819–1877," February 26–April 14, 1960, no. 46.
New York. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "Nature as Scene: French Landscape Painting from Poussin to Bonnard," October 29–December 6, 1975, no. 18 (as "The Bridge at Scey," lent anonymously).
Paris. Galeries nationales du Grand Palais. "Gustave Courbet, 1819–1877," September 30, 1977–January 2, 1978, no. 24 (as "Le pont de Scey," lent by a private collection, New York).
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Gustave Courbet, 1819–1877," January 19–March 19, 1978, no. 23 (as "View of Ornans known as The Bridge of Scey," lent by a private collection, New York).
Brooklyn Museum. "Courbet Reconsidered," November 4, 1988–January 16, 1989, no. 25 (as "View of Ornans," also known as "The Bridge of Scey," lent by a private collection, New York).
Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne. "Courbet: Artiste et promoteur de son oeuvre," November 21, 1998–March 7, 1999, no. 4 (as "Le Pont de Scey" or "Vue d'Ornans").
Stockholm. Nationalmuseum. "Gustave Courbet: en revoltör lanserar sitt verk," March 26–May 30, 1999, no. 4.
Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19. Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat.
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. "Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art—Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 6, 2012–January 4, 2013, no. 101.
Beijing. National Museum of China. "Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art—Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 8–May 9, 2013, no. 101.
Georges Riat. Gustave Courbet peintre. Paris, 1906, p. 336, calls it "Village de Villeneuve (ou Pont de Scey)".
Paintings by Gustave Courbet. Exh. cat., Paul Rosenberg & Co. New York, 1956, unpaginated, no. 2, ill., calls it "Landscape Near Ornans" and dates it about 1852.
Gaston Delestre. Gustave Courbet, 1819–1877. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Boston, 1960, pp. 77, 134, no. 46, ill., calls it "Le Pont de Scey (The Bridge at Scey)" and dates it about 1864; notes that Scey-en-Varais, a village on the banks of the Loue, where Courbet often painted, is a few miles from Ornans.
Robert Fernier. La vie et l'oeuvre de Gustave Courbet. Vol. 1, Peintures, 1819–1865. Lausanne, 1977, p. 226, no. 414, ill. p. 227, calls it "Pont de Scey" and dates it 1864; identifies the town of Ornans and its church in the background.
Hélène Toussaint. Gustave Courbet, 1819–1877. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts. [London], 1978, pp. 97, 235, no. 23, ill. [French ed. 1977, pp. 106–7, no. 24, ill.], calls it "View of Ornans known as The Bridge of Scey"; identifies the village as Ornans, rather than Scey, based on its distinctive spire and the rocky cliff in the background known as the Roche du Mont; dates it about 1850, placing it slightly earlier than the sketch of "Young Ladies of the Village" (Leeds City Art Gallery).
Pierre Courthion. L'opera completa di Courbet. Milan, 1985, p. 95, no. 391, ill., dates it 1864.
Ann Dumas in Sarah Faunce and Linda Nochlin. Courbet Reconsidered. Exh. cat., Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn, 1988, p. 125, no. 25, ill. (color)
, calls it "View of Ornans, also known as The Bridge of Scey," agreeing with the identification of Ornans on the Loue against the backdrop of the Roche du Mont; remarks that although the composition and style argue for an earlier date, the "broad handling and solid facture" suggest a date in the mid-1850s.
Susan Alyson Stein in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1995–1996." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 54 (Fall 1996), pp. 44–45, ill. (color), agrees with the mid-1850s date.
Jörg Zutter inCourbet: Artiste et promoteur de son œuvre. Ed. Jörg Zutter and Petra ten-Doesschate Chu. Exh. cat., Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne. Paris, 1998, pp. 11, 129, no. 11, colorpl. 116, includes this picture among the group of landscapes of Courbet's native countryside of Franche-Comté that he began in 1855.
Valérie Bajou. Courbet. Paris, 2003, pp. 240–41, ill. (color), calls it "Le Pont de Scey" or "La Vue d'Ornans" and dates it about 1850.
Kathryn Calley Galitz inEarth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art; Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. [Tokyo], 2012, pp. 162, 165, 250, no. 101, ill. (color and b&w) [Chinese ed., Hefei Shi, 2013, pp. 224–25, no. 101, ill. (color)].
Denis Coutagne inCourbet / Cézanne: La vérité en peinture. Ed. Denis Coutagne. Exh. cat., Musée Gustave Courbet, Ornans. Lyons, 2013, p. 26, fig. 2 (color).
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Gustave Courbet (French, Ornans 1819–1877 La Tour-de-Peilz)
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