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Gustave Courbet - French Artist From Art History

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Historical Artist - Gustave Courbet (1796 - 1875)

French painter, Gustaves Courbet was born in Ornans, his birthplace a favorite subject in his paintings. He studied under several minor artists, and also copied works in the Louvre to establish his own realist style. Courbet won a gold medal at a Salon exhibition in 1949, but his success diminished after his presentation of The Burial at Ornans, a piece which was considered shallow, ugly, and excessively large. Because the French Government became suspicious of him during the 1848 Revolution, Courbet held contempt for his native country for the remainder of his life. He refused to exhibit at the World Fair in 1855, and also refused to accept the Legion of Honor offered to him. Because of these actions, Courbet was exiled and spent the last years of his life in Switzerland. Courbet was a painter of figurative compositions, landscapes, seascapes, and still-lifes. He courted controversy by addressing social issues in his work, and by painting subjects that were considered vulgar: the rural bourgeoisie and peasantry, and the working conditions of the poor. His work belonged neither to the predominant Romantic nor Neoclassical schools.

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