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
- Chu, Petra Ten-Doesschate, Art Journal,fig. 2 p. 42
- Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, 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,1979, p. 69
- Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 120
- Fernier, Robert, La Vie et L'Oeuvre de Gustave Courbet: Catalogue Raisonné, Peintures 1819-1865,no. 196
- 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,2006, 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 1,2006,
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