Department of Art after 1800
The 1850s was a period of great realist paintings for Gustave Courbet: his compositions, formulated with a strong political content and reflecting on social issues created noisy scandals. In the next decade Courbet somewhat withdrew from social themes and the landscape gained more importance in his art.
For several decades, this landscape was considered to have been executed near Fouras on the French Atlantic coast. With the help of the musée Courbet, it recently became clear that the work was made near Ornans, the small town in Eastern France were the painter was born. The spring of Léri situated in the village of Chassagne has been left nearly untouched, and it is easy to recognise the pools and the rocky background even on recent photographs. Comparing the painting with its original setting, we can observe how Courbet slightly rearranged the landscape into clear, simple volumes, rendering the summer vegetation, the figures, and the effects of light and shadow with his bold palette knife technique.
Anna Zsófia Kovács
This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.