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Plate 59; Self-Portrait with Pipe c. 1846Oil on canvas, 18 1/8 x 15 in. (46 x 38 cm); Musée Fabre, Montpellier.
Plate 121; The Stonebrakers, Reproduction of the destroyed original of 1849. Oil on Canvas, 74 3/4 x 118 1/8 in. (190 x 300 cm) Formerly Gemäldegalerie, Dresden
Plate 220; Fruit in a Basket, 1871Oil on canvas 23 5/8 x 28 3/4 in. (60 x 73 cm) Shelburne Museum, Vermont, collection of H.O. Havemeyer.
Plate 278; Return of the Deer in Winter, c. 1988Oil on canvas, 21 3/4 x 28 5/8 in (34 x 72 cm) Musée du Beaux-Arts, Lyon
Plate 44; Portrait of Juliette Courbet, called Portrait of Baroness de M... 1844-45Oil on Canvas, 30 3/4 x 24 3/8 in. (78 x 62 cm) Musée du Petit Palais, Paris
Plate 79; Girl Dreaming or Zélie Courbet, 1948Charcoal on Paper, 17 3/4 x 11 3/8 in. (45 x 29 cm). Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Bequest of Greenville L. Winthrop.
Plate 134; The Bathers, 1853 Oil on Canvas, 89 3/8 x 76 in. (227 x 193 cm); Musée Fabre, Monpellier
Plate 256; The Wave, 1870Oil on canvse 33 5/8 x 39 3/4 in (85.5  x 99.5 cm) Collection Oskar Reinhart, Winterthur
By Ségolène Le Men

Size: 10 13/16" x 12 3/4", 
Slipcased, 400 pages
309 full color illustrations
Published 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7892-0977-1
Out of Stock

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An insightful new survey of the wide-ranging body of work of the most important French realist painter.

"Surely a work of art in and of itself, this newest monograph on Gustave Courbet ... will stand as the definitive text on this groundbreaking realist for some time to come." -- Art Times

"...Visually one could not hope for a more impressive, complete collection of the artists work--beginning with his first painting, done at age ten. Le Men also offers a great deal of insight into Courbets materials and artistic process, including elaboration on the artists recurring metaphors." -- Publishers Weekly

"Art books dont get more lavish and heart-revving than this. Oversize and lustrous, it is also fresh and inclusive in its comprehensive discussion of Courbets life, work, and society. ... With each page in this magnificent book, Courbets willingness and genius come into sharper focus." -- Booklist

"Highly recommended, ***" -- Choice

When Gustave Courbet (1819—1877) began his career in the late 1840s, French painting was dominated by two competing styles: neoclassicism, exemplified by Ingres, and romanticism, exemplified by Delacroix. Courbet, a dynamic and boundlessly selfconfident man, proud of his rural origins and guided by his strong Republican beliefs, quickly established a third way. Rejecting the historical and literary subjects of the prevailing styles as too remote from actual experience, Courbet instead depicted scenes of everyday life, particularly among the peasants and the working class, with a naturalism then considered shocking. His paint handling was correspondingly direct: disdaining equally the idealized contours and cool tones of the neoclassicists and the expressive line of the romantics, he laid on his colors almost roughly, often with a palette knife instead of a brush. While Courbet’s brand of realism bears a family resemblance to those of his contemporaries Daumier and Millet, its scope is much broader: his masterworks range from the Burial at Ornans (1850), a heroically scaled depiction of a villager’s funeral, to the very different Origin of the World (1866), a detailed close-up of the female anatomy, and he also painted many straight landscapes, portraits, and still lifes.

This lucidly written monograph from noted art historian Ségolène Le Men provides a new understanding of how Courbet’s life and milieu shaped his vast oeuvre. Le Men organizes her text both chronologically and thematically: while the five chapters correspond to the successive phases of Courbet’s career, each comprises several subsections that discuss individual aspects of his work. This hybrid approach allows Le Men to present an expansive and multifaceted view of Courbet’s realism, emphasizing its evolving relations with the various ideas and artistic currents of its time. With some three hundred stunning color illustrations, including all of Courbet’s most important paintings and many fine examples of his draftsmanship, this is the definitive study of a painter whose spirited pursuit of an independent aesthetic path has led many critics to call him “the first modern artist.”

Ségolène Le Men studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and is currently a professor of art history at the University of Paris X—Nanterre. She is the author of numerous publications on nineteenth-century French art.

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