Gustave Courbet (French, 1819-1877)
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Gustave Courbet (French, 1819-1877)

Le Château de Beaulieu; près de Lausanne

Gustave Courbet (French, 1819-1877)
Le Château de Beaulieu; près de Lausanne
signed 'G. Courbet' (lower right)
oil on canvas
21 3/8 x 17 ¾ in. (55 x 45 cm.)
Painted in 1875.
Baronne Valdelomar, Lucerne.
Her sale; Fischer, Lucerne, 28-30 July 1923, lot 56.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 29 March 1988, lot 103.
Acquired from the above sale by the present owner.
G. Riat, Gustave Courbet, peintre, Paris 1906, p. 356.
R. Fernier, La Vie et L'Oeuvre de Gustave Courbet, Lausanne, 1978, p. 214, no. 994 (illustrated).
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Lot Essay

Courbet lived in exile in La Tour-de-Peilz from 1873 until the end of his life. His exile was the result of his participation in the affair of the Vendôme column so for the later years of his life the artist was forced to live away from his beloved Franche-Comté. Courbet was depressed, melancholic and financially ruined, mostly because he was forced to pay personally for the rebuilding of the column.

Although perhaps best-known and most notorious for his enormous public, figural paintings, Gustave Courbet was first and foremost a landscape painter. Almost three-quarters of Courbet's oeuvre are landscapes and they were generally well-received, particularly his sous-bois paintings, or landscapes of the deep forest, as they offered his city-bound viewers a sense of refuge and solitude.

The Château de Beaulieu, near Lausanne dominates a landscape reminiscent of earlier work, before his exile, showing a desire by the artist to return to elements familiar to him in foreign surroundings. This can also be seen in other works of this period in the artist'soeuvre, most notably in his depictions of the Château de Chillon, in which the exterior reminded the homesick artist of the rocky outcroppings of the landscape in the environs of Ornans, and the waves lapping against the walls of the castle of his paysages de mer executed in his heyday of the 1860s.

The tones of these paintings were very personal to Courbet, "no atmospheric variation troubles the eternal calm of the site; the painting gives rise to the sense of place eternally fixed, which is doubtless related to the sensation of enclosure and constraint the artist experienced, profoundly, in exile" (D. de Font-Réaulx, Gustave Courbet, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2008, p. 422).

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