Peasant Girl with a Scarf
c. 1849
Gustave Courbet (French, 1819-1877)
On View

Courbet was at the origins of the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting. Eschewing the angels and make-believe of academic history painting in favor of “objects that the artist can see and touch,” Courbet devoted much of his early career to the inhabitants of his native Franche-Comté, a region rocked in the mid-19th century by the mechanization and modernization of farming. Here a peasant girl, flushed with sun (or perhaps desire), appears in uncomfortable close-up, gazing into the distance, where a man retreats into the shadows. The picture’s provincial subject and the willfully awkward relationship between figure and landscape would have discomfited many contemporary Parisian viewers, who regarded such choices as not only aesthetically radical but politically radical as well. “Realism,” as Courbet insisted, “is essentially democratic.”


  • Artist Name: Gustave Courbet (French, 1819-1877)
  • Title: Peasant Girl with a Scarf
  • Date: c. 1849
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 23-5/8 x 28-3/4 in. (60 x 73 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1989.2.P
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

The artist, to;
M. Weill;
D’Ol*** (sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 9 December 1876, lot 20, as Tête de femme);
[Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris];
A. H. Stirlin, Zurich, by 1935, by inheritance to;
H. R. Stirlin, Zurich and St.-Prex, Switzerland, still in 1955, sold to;
[Drs. Fritz and Peter Nathan, Zurich];
[Acquavella Galleries, New York, sold 1966 to];
John T. Dorrance, Jr., Gladwyne, Pennsylvania (sale, New York, Sotheby’s, 18 October 1989, lot 2, color ill., as Paysanne au madras), to;
[Acquavella Galleries, New York, sold 7 December 1989, as Peasant Girl with a Scarf, to];
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

Gustave Courbet

  • Zurich, Kunsthaus, 1935-12-15 to 1936-03-31

La peinture française du XIX siècle en Suisse. Exposition organisée par La Gazette des Beaux-Arts, avec le concours du Kunsthaus Musée des Beaux-Arts de Zurich, au profit de la Société Helvetique de Beinfaisance en France

  • Paris, La Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1938-05-03 to 1938-07-31

Exposition Gustave Courbet

  • La Tour de Peliz, Musee Jenisch, 1950-07-08 to 1950-10-03

Exposition Gustave Courbet 1819-1877

  • Musée des beaux arts de Besançon, 1952-08-23 to 1952-10-10

Gustave Courbet

  • London, Marlborough Gallery, 1953-05 to 1953-06


  • Venice, XXVII Biennale Internazionale d' Arte, 1954 to

Courbet. Exposition organisée sous l'égide du Syndicat d'initiative de Lyon

  • Lyon, Musée de Beaux-Arts, 1954 to

Gustave Courbet

  • Paris, Musée du Petit Palais, 1955 to

De Gericault à Matisse: Chefs d'Oeuvre Français des Collections Suisses

  • Paris, Musée du Petit Palais, 1959-03 to 1959-05

Gustave Courbet

  • Paris, Grand Palais, 1977-01-10 to 1978-01-02
  • Royal Academy of Arts (Great Britain), 1978-01-19 to 1978-03-19

Gustave Courbet

  • Kunstmuseum Bern, 1962-09-22 to 1962-11-18

Reinstallation of South Wing

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1993-10-07 to 1995-08-13
  • Léger, Charles, Courbet, pl. 22
  • Gazette des Beaux-Arts, no. 32
  • Fernier, Robert, La vie et l'oeuvre de Gustave Courbet: Catalogue raisonné, 1977, no. 210 p. 40, 131
  • Brettell, Richard R. and Stephen F. Eisenman, Nineteenth-Century Art in the Norton Simon Museum, volume 1, 2006,
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 1732 p. 440
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Additional Artwork by Artist

Apples, Pears, and Primroses on a Table Gustave Courbet 1871-1872
Cliff at Étretat, the Porte d' Aval Gustave Courbet 1869
Henri Rochefort Gustave Courbet 1874

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