Courbet was a rebel who flouted academic rules and opposed Romantics’ and Classicists’ idealised depictions of mythology and Antiquity. Instead, Courbet portrayed the reality of contemporary life imbued with left-wing social commentary. However, he is a varied artist whose spiritual and romantic content gives him other dimensions. He experimented with novel compositional strategies and a revolutionary painting technique which included the use of thick superimposed layers of paint applied directly with a palette knife. This approach strongly influenced Paul Cézanne (1839–1906), who began mimicking Courbet’s style in the 1860s.
Books on Gustave Courbet
Jeffrey Howe, ed., Courbet: Mapping Realism – Paintings from the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and American Collections, exh. cat. Chestnutt Hill, 2013
Klaus Harding and Max Hollein, eds., Courbet: A Dream of Modern Art, exh. cat. Ostfildern, 2010.
Dominique de Font-Réaulx and Laurence des Cars, Gustave Courbet, exh. cat. New York and Ostfildern, 2008.
Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, The Most Arrogant Man in France: Gustave Courbet and the Nineteenth-Century Media Culture, Princeton, 2007.
Linda Nochlin, Courbet, London, 2007.
Mary Morton and Charlotte Eyerman, Courbet and the Modern Landscape, exh. cat. Los Angeles, 2006.
Linda Nochlin and Sarah Faunce, eds., Courbet Reconsidered, exh. cat. Brooklyn, 1988.
Linda Nochlin: ‘Courbet’s L’Origine du monde: The Origin without an Original’, October vol. 37, 1986, pp. 76–86.
Jean-Louis Fernier, Courbet: ‘Un Enterrement à Ornans’, anatomie d’un chef d’œuvre, Paris, 1980.
Robert Fernier, La Vie et l’Œuvre de Gustave Courbet : Catalogue Raisonné, 2 vols. Paris, 1978.
Linda Nochlin, ed., Realism and Tradition in Art: 1848-1900, Englewood Cliffs, 1966.
Henri d’Ideville, Gustave Courbet, Notes et Documents sur sa Vie et son Oeuvre, Paris, 1878.