Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet (1819 - 1877) was a French painter who led the Realist movement which bridged the Romantic and Impressionist movements. Courbet boldly addressed controversial subjects in his time including the depiction of peasant life, the working conditions of the poor, and various sexual topics. He was a painter of figurative compositions, landscapes, seascapes, and still-lifes. Our collection of Courbet patterns includes his most important ones including The Desperate Man, A Burial at Ornans, The Artist's Studio, The Stone Breakers, Wounded Man, The Wrestlers, Self Portrait with a Black Dog, and The Peasants of Flagey Returning from the Fair.

Patterns Included In This Set:


The Desperate Man

A Burial at Ornans

The Artist's Studio


Portrait of Jo

Self Portrait with Black Dog

The Man with a Pipe


Zlie Courbet

Portrait of Charles Baudelaire

The Stone Breakers


Bonjour Monsieur Courbet

Woman with White Stockings

The Bather


Cliffs at Etretat

The Wave

The Source


Stream in the Jura Mountains

The Peasants of Flagey Returning from the Fair

Woman with a Parrot


The Young Ladies of the Village

Chateau de Chillon

A Bay with Cliffs


Fishing Boats on the Deauville Beach

Peasant Wearing Madras

Portrait of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon


Sunset on Lake Leman

Le Chateau de Thoraise

Wounded Man


Portrait of Gabrielle Borreau

The Stormy Sea

Hollyhocks in a Copper Bowl


Chateau de Chillon

The Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine

Reclining Nude


The Wrestlers

The Girl with the Seagulls

Portrait of Countess Karoly


Fox in the Snow

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Jean Dsir Gustave Courbet (10 June 1819 - 31 December 1877) was a French painter who founded the Realist movement in the mid 19th century. He was a revolutionary figure, both in his personal life and in his ideas about painting. In his own times he was both admired and rejected. To future generations of artists, both his life and his ideas came to represent the artist as controversial hero.

Gustave Courbet was born in Ornans to a prosperous rural family with roots in the French Revolution. He was the eldest child in a happy family of four children, and the only son. Courbet started painting and drawing at an early age - his three sisters were the first models for his paintings and in 1839, at the age of twenty, the young artist went to Paris. Initially he studied law under family pressure, but he soon dropped the law studies and went to study with artist Charles de Steuben. Courbet, however, was already an independent spirit and he soon left Steuben's studio, preferring to develop his own style by copying works of the masters in the Louvre. During this period, Courbet was still trying to find his artistic direction. A trip to Holland and Belgium in 1846-47 convinced him that he should be portraying the lives of ordinary people in the world around him. But Courbet, always the revolutionary, did this on a scale that would challenge contemporary academic ideas.

At the Salon of 1849 Courbet exhibited After Dinner at Ornans, a large-scale genre painting that earned him a gold medal, which meant his paintings did not have to be accepted by the jury, an exemption he enjoyed until 1857 when the rules changed. The painting was purchased by the French State. The years 1849-1850 saw Courbet painting several grand-scale masterpieces and two of them, The Stone Breakers (destroyed in the British bombing of Dresden in 1945) and Burial at Ornans caused outrage when they were exhibited at the Salon of 1850 for they portrayed ordinary people on a vast scale previously reserved for historical or heroic themes. Courbet himself said that Burial at Ornans was, in fact, the burial of Romanticism as an art movement. Courbet was now a celebrity with the reputation of being an anarchist, but also a genius, ideas he energetically encouraged through his writings in the press and his public pronouncements.

Courbet continued defying convention and produced another vast masterpiece, The Artist's Studio (1854-55) depicting himself in his studio surrounded by a crowd of admirers. He gave the painting the subtitle A real allegory summing up seven years of my artistic and moral life and issued a manifesto declaring his socialist ideas. His technical mastery and his boldness were turning him into a hero for the next generation of French painters, the future Impressionists. Courbet submitted fourteen of his monumental paintings to the Exposition Universelle of 1855, but they were rejected because of their size so he Courbet decided to hold his own exhibition, which he called The Pavillion of Realism in a temporary structure he put up next to the exhibition.

The years 1857-1870 were very successful and happy years for the artist. He was provocative, he had a reputation and a following and the commissions flooded in. By 1859 he was the undisputed leader of the Realists. However, Courbet was never far from scandal and during these years he exhibited works that continued to shock the public. In the Salon of 1857 he showed Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine, a painting of two prostitutes under a tree. In the mid-1860s he produced a series of explicit nudes one of which, The Origin of the World was so shocking and ahead of its time that it was not publicly exhibited until 1988.

After the fall of the Second Empire, Paris fell into the hands of a revolutionary group called the Paris Commune. Courbet, with his revolutionary ideas, soon became a leading member and was elected President of the Federation of Artists. He was put in charge of the Louvre museum, which he saved from looters. But in April 1871 the Commune voted to demolish Napoleon's victory column in the Place Vendome. Courbet executed the decree by dismantling the column on May 8, a mistake that was to cost him dearly after the fall of the Commune. Courbet was tried and jailed by the new national government for his part in the demolition of the Vendome Column and in 1873 he was ordered to pay the costs of the reconstruction. Unable to pay, he fled to Switzerland. His property was seized by the government of the Third Republic and he was declared bankrupt.

In Switzerland Courbet produced a series of paintings of hooked and bleeding trout, which were thought to have been allegories of his condition. He was obsessed with his financial situation and started drinking. His health was failing rapidly. In May 1877 the French government decreed the final costs of rebuilding the Vendome Column and divided the payment into yearly installments for the next 33 years. Courbet would have been 91 years old at the end! But in December 1877, a day before the first installment was due, Courbet died of liver disease brought about by his heavy drinking. He was 58 years old.

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