Although inscribed G. Courbet, there is little reason to believe this is a work by Gustave Courbet, or even by one of his collaborators. The painting was previously titled L’Orage (The Storm) because of the dark grey cloud that looms over the landscape. Despite the area of bright blue sky on the horizon, the extensive use of blacks and very dark greens imparts a gloom to the scene that is perhaps meant to suggest dusk or twilight.
This interest in the dramatic play of light and dark within a landscape recalls work by painters of the Barbizon School in mid-nineteenth-century France, although this picture lacks the tonal delicacy and technical skills that characterise work by these artists. Much of the picture is quite crudely painted, but the artist may have wanted to create an effect of sketchiness and perhaps used a palette knife for some areas. The cloud, especially, looks as solid as the mountains beneath it.
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