The Wave by Gustave Courbet (70 x 100 cm) framed print
70 x 100 cm ready to hang white framed mounted print of The Wave by Gustave Courbet, from the National Galleries of Scotland Collection. Image size 59 x 71 cm. Printed in high-quality 240gsm smooth matt paper with light, fine-grain surface texture.
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.
Courbet was the great rebel of nineteenth-century French art. He rejected the established conventions of academic painting, with its emphasis on idealised historical and mythological subjects, in favour of real subjects from ordinary life. Courbet staged his own exhibition in his 'Pavilion of Realism' during the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1855 which established an important precedent for future independent shows. Many of his paintings were based on people and places in the Jura, the mountainous region of eastern France where Courbet was born. His later self-imposed exile in Switzerland followed his active role in the Paris Commune.