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Opening Reception: At the Source: A Courbet Landscape Rediscovered

February 3, 2023

5:00-7:30 PM

Join us for the opening reception of At the Source: A Courbet Landscape Rediscovered

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.

In 1847 Thomas W. Evans established a dental practice in Paris, France and became surgeon dentist to Napoléon III and Empress Eugénie. In 1867 he introduced nitrous oxide as an anesthetic to the European medical and dental communities, Evans was renowned for his gold-foil fillings, vulcanite dentures, and orthodontic treatments, serving royalty from Britain to Turkey. Evans also played important roles in French and American politics. Upon his death in 1897, Evans bequeathed most of his wealth to create The Thomas W. Evans Museum and Institute Society in Philadelphia. In 1912 the Society and the University of Pennsylvania signed an agreement to establish the Thomas W. Evans Museum and Dental Institute at the corner of 40th and Spruce Street which was dedicated in February 1915. In 2015 Penn Dental Medicine celebrated its 100th Anniversary of the founding of the dental school.

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.