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Gustave Courbet Gallery     Prints.     Full biography.
Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) Gustave Courbet was born in Ornans, France. He went to Paris in 1839. Towards the end of the 1860s, Courbet painted a series of increasingly erotic works. His refusal of the cross of the Legion of Honour, offered to him by Napoleon III, made him immensely popular.
Porteuses de Fagots
Grotto of Sarrazine
Standing Female Nude
Bohemienne et ses Enfants
Rock at Bayard, Dinart
Reclining Woman
Woman with a Parrot


Oil on canvas. 77x128 cm
France. Circa 1865/1866
Source of Entry:   formerly in the collection of Bernhard Koehler, Berlin.
Transferred from Germany after World War II

In Courbet's portrayal of the nude female body, two opposing tendencies emerged quite early: he could either display the body following the aesthetic ideals of Parisian society of the time or, on the contrary, show it with heightened realism.

Reclining Woman reflects the artist's hesitation as to whether he should act in the spirit of realism or follow tradition as he understood it. Courbet chose the former, even if his realism in that case made some concession to academic convention.

Concerning this figure in the natural setting, it can be noted that the sensuality of the reclining woman is expressed not only in the contours of her body but also in the colour of her hair. By echoing the colour of the woman's hair in the golden-red foliage of the background, the artist sought to unify the landscape - nature - with the nymph, its most beautiful embodiment.

Hermitage Museum
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WikipediaJun 03, 2007 15:33Gustave Courbet

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