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Style of Gustave Courbet, The Sea near Palavas

Key facts
Full title The Sea near Palavas
Artist Style of Gustave Courbet
Artist dates 1819 - 1877
Date made 1860s onwards
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 43.2 × 60 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Presented by John P. Heseltine in memory of William Lomas, 1911
Inventory number NG2767
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Sea near Palavas
Style of Gustave Courbet

This is a view of the coast at Palavas-les-Flots, a fishing village south of Montpellier. The picture is similar to seascapes that Gustave Courbet painted there during his several visits to Montpellier in the 1850s. In particular, there are resemblances to his small painting The Seaside at Palavas (Musée Fabre, Montpellier). Painted in 1854, that work was commissioned by Alfred Bruyas during Courbet’s first visit. It shows Courbet, or perhaps Bruyas, standing on a deserted beach greeting the sea and may have been inspired in part by Caspar David Friedrich’s Monk by the Sea (Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin).

However, this slightly larger painting is not accepted as a work by Courbet despite the signature G. Courbet in the lower right corner. The composition, particularly the sky, is blander than his other seascapes and the smooth application of the thinned paint is unlike his more textured use of oil paint.

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