Courbet likely worked on this canvas during a fall 1868 visit to his birthplace at Ornans in the far eastern reaches of France. The painting depicts a stretch of the river Brème little more than two miles from Ornans itself and bears a scratched-out, over-painted date of “68” in the lower left-hand corner. The picture is thickly painted, worked up with both brush (for the bare, wispy tree branches) and palette knife (for the lichen-crusted limestone cliffs and the frothy water). The painting’s rough, almost mineral surface gives literal form to its rocky subject. Courbet treated the same gorge, transformed by spring, in a painting today at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
- Artist Name: Gustave Courbet (French, 1819-1877)
- Title: Stream of the Puits-Noir at Ornans
- Date: c. 1867-1868
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: 39-3/8 x 59-1/4 in. (100 x 150.5 cm)
- Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon
- Accession Number: M.1976.13.P
- Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation
[Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, by 1906];
[Galerie Heinemann, Munich, by 1908, sold 1911 for 18,500 goldmarks to];
Hugo Schmeil, Dresden (sale, Berlin, Galerie Paul Cassirer, 17 October 1916, lot 8, ill., as Le Ruisseau du Puits Noir d’Ornans, bought in at RM 15,500).
[Emil Baum, Galerie Baum, Munich, sold 13 July 1922 for 870,000 mks to];
Leo Meijer, Amsterdam, sold late 1940s.
Thomas Mitchell (1892-1962), Beverly Hills, by 1948, still in 1950.
[Paul Kantor Gallery, Beverly Hills, stock no. K1724, sold 1965 to];
Norton Simon, gift 1976 to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1965-06-17 to 1965-11-17
Meier-Graefe, Julius, Corot und Courbet, p. 161
Meier-Graefe, Courbet, pl. 32
Eyerman, Charlotte; Dominique de Font-Réaulx and Mary Morton, Courbet and the Modern Landscape, plate 13 pp. 68, 74
Arts Council of Great Britain, Gustave Courbet 1819-1877,
Brettell, Richard R. and Stephen F. Eisenman, Nineteenth-Century Art in the Norton Simon Museum, volume 1,
Chu, Petra Ten-Doesschate, Art Journal, fig. 2 p. 42
Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, cat. 268 p. 278
Eitner, Lorenz, The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systemic Catalogue. French Paintings of the Nineteenth Century. Part I: Before Impressionism, no. 22, fig. 2 pp. 109-112
Thomas, Greg M., Art and Ecology in Nineteenth-Century France: The Landscape of Théodore Rousseau, fig. 44 p. 75
Morse, John D., Old Master Paintings in North America, p. 69
Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, p. 120
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