The Calm Sea

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

Date: 1869

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 23 1/2 x 28 3/4 in. (59.7 x 73 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929

Accession Number: 29.100.566


Courbet painted this view looking out over the English Channel during a visit to Étretat along the coast of Normandy in August 1869. The ocean has receded at low tide, and two small boats are left on the shore. The tranquil composition, with its immense sky towering over narrow bands of water and sand, is unusual for Courbet’s marine paintings of this period, dominated by dramatically crashing waves.