Gustave Courbet 1819-1877
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was a French painter whose powerful pictures of peasants and scenes of everyday life established him as the leading figure of the realist movement of the mid-19th century.
Gustave Courbet was born at Ornans on June 10, 1819. He appears to have inherited his vigorous temperament from his father, a landowner and prominent personality in the Franche-Comte region. At the age of 18 Gustave went to the College Royal at Besancon. There he openly expressed his dissatisfaction with the traditional classical subjects he was obliged to study, going so far as to lead a revolt among the students. In 1838 he was enrolled as an externe and could simultaneously attend the classes of Charles Flajoulot, director of the ecole des Beaux-Arts. At the college in Besançon, Courbet became fast friends with Max Buchon, whose Essais Poetiques (1839) he illustrated with four lithographs.
In 1840 Courbet went to Paris to study law, but he decided to become a painter and spent much time copying in the Louvre. In 1844 his Self-Portrait with Black Dog was exhibited at the Salon. The following year he submitted five pictures; only one, Le Guitarrero, was accepted. After a complete rejection in 1847, the Liberal Jury of 1848 accepted all 10 of his entries, and the critic Champfleury, who was to become Courbet first staunch apologist, highly praised the Walpurgis Night. Dog mk242