Press Releases

At the Source: A Courbet Landscape Rediscovered

January 9, 2023


For Immediate Release
January 4, 2023

Arthur Ross Gallery, University of Pennsylvania  

At the Source: A Courbet Landscape Rediscovered

February 4 – May 28, 2023

The Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA is pleased to announce that they will unveil a rediscovered Gustave Courbet painting unseen for nearly 100 years in At the Source: A Courbet Landscape Rediscoveredwhich will be on view from February 4 – May 28, 2023. Courbet’s painting of the source of the Lison River in France, close to his birthplace, was discovered in 2016 in storage at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. The painting, Gustave Courbet’s The Source of the Lison, (La Source du Lison), 1864 oil on canvas, is a 1912 bequest of Philadelphia-born Thomas W. Evans.

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.

The Source of the Lison was conserved in 2016, scientifically examined in 2018 and authenticated by the Institut Courbet (Ornans, France) in April 2022. Curated by Lynn Marsden-Atlass, Executive Director of the Arthur Ross Gallery and University Curator, and André Dombrowski, Frances Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Associate Professor of 19th-Century European Art at the University of Pennsylvania, At the Source: A Courbet Landscape Rediscovered 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 is accompanied with a major catalogue, with new scholarship by leading Courbet scholars, including Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, Aruna D’Souza, Paul Galvez, and Mary Morton. It situates Courbet’s modern landscapes within the genre of nineteenth century plein-air painting. The exhibition will also be accompanied by the podcast Big Art Energy that will share the journey of Courbet’s Source du Lison from the basement of the dental school to the Arthur Ross Gallery. 


Friday, February 3, 2023, at 5:00 PM
Opening Reception

Wednesday, February 8, 2023, at 12:00 PM

A talk in 12-minutes with André Dombrowski, Frances Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Associate Professor of 19th-Century European Art at the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in the arts and material cultures of France and Germany in the late nineteenth century. Author of Cézanne, Murder, and Modern Life (2012), a book about the artist’s early work, he has also written essays on Manet, Monet, Degas, Pissarro, and Menzel, among others. He is the editor of the Wiley Companion to Impressionism (2021), bringing together thirty-four essays on Impressionism. He is currently working on his next book, tentatively titled Monet’s Minutes.

Thursday, February 9, 2023, at 5:30 PM
Lecture with Paul Galvez 

Paul Galvez is an art historian, critic, and curator, and was most recently a research associate at the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History at the University of Texas, Dallas, where he was also director of the Master of Arts Program in Art History. He is the author of Courbet’s Landscapes: The Origins of Modern Painting (2022), and his writings have appeared in Art JournalOctoberCahiers du Musée national de l’art moderneTexte zur Kunst and Artforum.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023, at 12:00 PM

A talk in 12-minutes with Jenn Mass and Adam Finnefrock “A Scientific Analysis of Courbet’s Source du Lison”

Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at 5:30 PM
Conversation between Jennifer A. Thompson and Lynn Marsden-Atlass

Jennifer A. Thompson, The Gloria and Jack Drosdick Curator of European Painting and Sculpture and Curator of the John G. Johnson Collection

Jennifer Thompson is Head of the European Painting and Sculpture Department at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Since joining the department in 1999, she has played an essential role in interpreting, displaying, and developing the museum’s collections of European art. She has published widely and curated many notable exhibitions, including: The Impressionist’s Eye (2019); Old Masters Now: Celebrating the Johnson Collection (2017): Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting (2015); Van Gogh Up Close (2012); and Late Renoir (2010). She is also curator of the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia.

Lynn Marsden-Atlass, Executive Director and University Curator

Lynn Marsden-Atlass has been the Executive Director of the Arthur Ross Gallery since 2008 and Curator of the University of Pennsylvania Art Collection since 2010. She has curated thirty-four exhibitions at the Arthur Ross Gallery. Previously, she served as senior curator of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, curator of American and contemporary art at the Chrysler Museum of Art, associate director and registrar of the Colby College Museum of Art, and director of the Consortium of Colleges Abroad in Paris. She was professor of nineteenth century French art for the British Institute in Paris and three colleges, as well as adjunct professor in the Department d’anglais at Université de Caen in 1992–93. In 2016, she was an affiliated fellow at the American Academy in Rome.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023, at 12:00 PM

A talk in 12-minutes with Lynn Marsden-Atlass, Executive Director, Discovering a Courbet Landscape

Tuesday, April 4, 2023, at 5:30 PM
Conversation between Petra Ten-Doesschate Chu and Reto Gieré

Petra Ten-Doesschate Chu, a specialist in the history of nineteenth-century European art, has published extensively in this area. She is the author of the widely used college textbook Nineteenth-Century European Art, currently in its third edition, and one of the two founding editors of Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide (, an electronic journal devoted to the art of this period. Chair of the Art History and Museum Studies Department at Seton Hall University for twenty-one years, she cofounded, with Professor Emeritus Barbara Cate, the Master of Arts Program in Museum Professions.

Reto Gieré investigates Earth materials, their response to geological forces, and their interaction with the environment and humans. He is engaged in research projects around the world and is dedicated to promoting the health of our fragile planet through teaching, mentoring and research. He obtained his Ph.D. at ETH Zürich (Switzerland), was a professor at Purdue University (USA), École Normale Supérieure (Paris), and the Universities of Basel (Switzerland), Freiburg (Germany) and Siena (Italy), and a visiting researcher at the Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation and at Argonne National Laboratory (USA). He is Editor of Journal of Petrology, Chief Editor of European Journal of Mineralogy, a Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America, and the Geological Society (London), an Honorary Member of the Mineralogical Society of Slovakia, and received an Honorary Doctorate from the Université de Haute-Alsace in France.

Friday, April 7 at 1:00 PM
Art Reset with Jalen Chang, PhD candidate in the history of art at the University of Pennsylvania and the 2022–23 Carl Zigrosser Fellow at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Arthur Ross Gallery
University of Pennsylvania
Housed in the Fisher Fine Arts Library Building
220 South 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104