Woman in a Riding Habit (L'Amazone), 1856
Gustave Courbet (French, 1819–1877)
Oil on canvas; 45 1/2 x 35 1/8 in. (115.6 x 89.2 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.59)
Courbet never exhibited this work of a woman en amazone (in riding habit). Indeed, his model remained anonymous until an early biographer identified her as the poet and novelist Louise Colet (1810–1876), the muse of Gustave Flaubert who reportedly inspired the character of Emma Bovary. Recently, however, she has been identified as Madame ClÉment Laurier, painted on the occasion of her marriage in 1856. The portrait was thus a pendant to Courbet's portrait of her husband (1855; Milwaukee Art Museum). The artist Mary Cassatt admired this work as "the finest woman's portrait Courbet ever did."