Stream in the Jura Mountains (The Torrent), Gustave Courbet

Gustave Courbet, (French, 1819–1877) Stream in the Jura Mountains (The Torrent), c. 1872–3 Oil on canvas Purchase, gifts of Mrs. Philip E. Spalding, Mrs. Clyde Doran, Renee Halbedl, Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Marcus, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred J. Ostheimer, by exchange; and with funds given in memory of William Hyde Rice, 1981 (4946.1) Opposed to the classicism and literary conceits of early 19th-century art, Gustave Courbet pioneered the Realist movement in French painting. A view in the Jura Mountains on the border of France and Switzerland, this work depicts a fast-running stream and, in the distance, the waterfall that feeds it. Courbet was committed to capturing the appearance of the world around him, and he was deeply attuned to the palpability of matter; in his landscapes, he used color and impasto to replicate the tactility of the physical environment. Here, paint is applied paint thickly and vigorously: the rocks are layered on from the flat side of a palette knife, while the foliage is loose and delicate from pigment flicked on with the knife's tip.