About this artwork

Courbet was fascinated by the power of the sea. He spent the summer of 1869 at Etretat on the Normandy coast and painted several pictures of waves breaking on the shore. The small scale of his canvas did not inhibit his ability to convey the vast expanse of stormy sky and sea. Courbet applied paint thickly using vigorous brush and palette knife strokes which complement the forceful surge of the wave. The motif of the single wave was inspired by Japanese colour prints which were widely available in Paris in the 1860s.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
    Gustave CourbetFrench (1819 - 1877)
  • title:
    The Wave
  • date created:
    About 1869
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    46.00 x 55.00 cm; Framed: 66.71 x 75.90 x 9.50 cm / 10.00 kg
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Presented by Sir Alexander Maitland in memory of his wife Rosalind 1960
  • accession number:
    NG 2233
  • gallery:
  • subject:
  • glossary:
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Gustave Courbet

Gustave Courbet

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