Cascade in a Rocky Landscape

Creation date
oil on canvas
22-3/4 x 29 in.
Credit line
James E. Roberts Fund
Accession number
Currently On View In
Norb and Ruth Schaefer, Sr. & Norb and Carolyn Schaefer Gallery - H211

With its cascade and rocky terrain, this image is typical of the settings favored by Courbet. The thick, vigorous brushwork-purposefully different from the slick surfaces of idealized neo-classical landscapes-has the direct, realistic approach of this free-thinking artist. Courbet's independent attitude and energetic handling of paint were liberating influences for the emerging Impressionist artists.

This canvas was probably painted in Swtizerland, where Courbet was exiled in 1873 due to his political protests, which included helping to topple the Vendôme column in Paris.

F[erdinand?] Tempelaere, Paris. {1} Emile Bernheim, Paris. {2} Josef Stransky, New York, acquired between May 1931 and May 1935. {3} (Wildenstein & Co., New York); {4} purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of Art (formerly John Herron Art Institute) on February 21, 1939 (39.3)

{1} Robert Fernier, La vie et l’oeuvre de Gustave Courbet; catalogue raisonné Lausanne, 1977-1978, 2 vols., cat. no. 843 cites the first owner as 'Coll. F. Tempelaere, Paris.' Perhaps this refers to the elder of the Tempelaere brothers, Ferdinand (1871-1955) and Julien (1876-1961), who were art collectors.
{2} Fernier cites 'Coll. Emile Bernheim, Paris;' see footnote above.
{3} Although Josef Stransky, the long-time conductor of the New York Philharmonic, owned three Courbets by May 1931 -- see Ralph Flint, 'The Private Collection of Josef Stransky', Art News, vol. XXIX, no. 33 (May 16, 1931): 87-88 - this painting was not among them. But by May 1935 when another checklist of his collection was published, this painting is included as 'Le Puits Noir'; see 'French Masters of the XIX and XX century: The private collection of Josef Stransky, New York', Special Reprint from the Art News Supplement, May 1931, including recent accessions up to May 1935, unpaginated (ill.).
{4}IMA Temporary Receipt No. 3794.
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