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At the Source: A Courbet Landscape Rediscovered

February 4 – May 28, 2023

An exhibition sparked by the discovery of a Gustave Courbet painting of the source of the French river Lison in the University of Pennsylvania’s collection, At the Source: A Courbet Landscape Rediscovered (February 4 – May 28, 2023) showcases the infamous painter’s modern landscape practice. Focusing on the motifs of grottos and waterfalls in his art of the 1850s and 1860s, the exhibition highlights the newly re-discovered Courbet painting, not shown in public for close to 100 years, emphasizing the process of authenticating and conserving this historic work.

Published on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the Arthur Ross Gallery, the accompanying catalogue brings together new essays by leading Courbet scholars, including Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, Paul Galvez, Mary Morton, and Aruna D’Souza, among others. These essays consider Courbet’s modern landscapes within the genre of 19th-century landscape painting and in relation to other artists’ depictions of the source of the Lison, while drawing connections to Courbet’s political activism, his interests in geology and environmentalism, as well as his engagement with issues of gender.

A series of special programs and events are planned.

Gustave Courbet (French, 1819–1877)
The Source of the Lison (La Source du Lison), 1864
Oil on canvas
18 1/2 × 22 in. (46 × 55 cm)
University of Pennsylvania Art Collection, Gift of Thomas W. Evans
1912.0005.0237