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Misfit: Henri Fantin-Latour 1 First flowers
Painters of note in France during the latter half of the nineteenth century are generally quite easy to classify. There were Impressionists, some of whom became Divisionists and/or Post-Impressionists, Realists and Naturalists (whose work I have covered quite extensively here), the Nabis at the end of the century, and... Read more
Bicentenary of Gustave Courbet, a founding father of modern art
Two hundred years ago today, Gustave Courbet was born in the country town of Ornans in Doubs, in the north-east of France. His paintings were of great influence in the development of art throughout Europe and North America. In my recent series of six articles examining his career and... Read more
The Great Wave 2, Courbet to Gauguin
In the previous of these two articles, I looked at European paintings of near-breaking ‘regular’ or “surfer’s” waves prior to 1850, and the appearance of Katsushika Hokusai’s woodblock print of The Great Wave off Kanagawa, which became so popular in Japan. No one knows when Hokusai’s Great Wave first... Read more
Gustave Courbet 6: Into exile
By the end of the 1860s, Gustave Courbet (1819–1877) had matured from being an enfant terrible, becoming a darling of the liberals. As an act of appeasement, the Emperor Napoleon III nominated Courbet to the Legion of Honour, but the artist stood fast and refused. His popularity grew. As... Read more
Gustave Courbet 5: Waves and caves
Best-known if not infamous for his erotic nudes during the 1860s, Gustave Courbet (1819–1877) in fact painted far more interesting works over the decade, although reading and explaining them may be more difficult. While our attention may be focussed on those popular displays of desirable flesh, Courbet’s certainly wasn’t.... Read more
Gustave Courbet 4: The erotic
Having explored figurative and landscape painting, and posed one of the great artistic enigmas of the century, in the 1860s Gustave Courbet (1819–1877) followed his Sleeping Nude from 1858 with a controversial if not scandalous series of nudes. Gustave Courbet (1819–1877), Woman with White Stockings (1861), oil on canvas,... Read more
The First Impressionist? Johan Jongkind’s Bicentenary – Impressionism
The Dutch landscape painter Johan Barthold Jongkind (1819-1891) was still struggling for a breakthrough when he was working in France in 1855, so he returned to the Netherlands, where he set up his studio in Rotterdam. In 1857, he visited Paris briefly, where he dined with Gustave Courbet, Camille... Read more
Gustave Courbet 3: Allegory
In the mid-1850s, Gustave Courbet painted several fine landscapes, mainly of the countryside around his native Ornans. He also painted one of the most enigmatic works of the entire century, shown below. For the Exposition Universelle to be held in Paris in 1855, he submitted a total of fourteen... Read more
The First Impressionist? Johan Jongkind’s Bicentenary – first period in France
Four great painters who are candidates for the role of First Impressionist, before Monet, Pissarro, Renoir and the rest of the core members of the movement in France, include: Camille Corot (1796-1875), the major landscape painter who was ‘father’ to the movement, Johan Barthold Jongkind (1819–1891), whose painterly landscapes... Read more
Gustave Courbet 2: The group
Before the young Gustave Courbet (1819–1877) had even completed The Stone Breakers, he had already started work on an even greater masterpiece, A Burial at Ornans, one of the canonical paintings of the century. Gustave Courbet (1819–1877), A Burial at Ornans (1849-50), oil on canvas, 315 x 668 cm,... Read more