Gustave Courbet


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Status, estimation and price of the artist Gustave Courbet

Price of a painting by the artist: 340 – 12,700,000 €.

Price of a drawing by the artist: 1,400 – 120,000 €.

Estimation of a print by the artist: 50 – 2,500 €.

Estimation of a sculpture by the artist: 13,000 – 100,000 €.

If you would like to have a work by Gustave Courbet appraised, our experts will take care of everything.

Training and inspiration

Gustave Courbet is a French painter and sculptor, leader of the realist movement. He was born on 10 June 1819 in Ornans, Franche-Comté and died on 31 December 1877 in Switzerland.

Coming from a well-to-do and tight-knit family, Gustave Courbet is the only boy, along with his three sisters. He made many portraits of his family and even mixed with the characters in his paintings. He is also very attached to his native region, which serves as a setting for many of his paintings. Gustave Courbet travelled around France during his lifetime, notably in Normandy, Paris, Montpellier and the North, but he always returned to his native region. He began to familiarise himself with art through Father Baud, a teacher from Ornans. At the age of 20, Gustave Courbet enrolled in law school in Paris, but he quickly turned away from the legal profession and instead chose to to attend Charles de Steuben’s studio. At the Louvre, he copied the works of masters such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Hals and Caravaggio. In the “Spanish Gallery” he discovered the works of Velásquez and Zurbaran, also appreciated by Manet. Gustave Courbet always showed great admiration for Géricault and Delacroix, who used large formats to make representations of contemporary history. Gustave Courbet liked to stage himself in his paintings, such as L’homme au chien noir in 1842 and L’homme blessé in 1844.

Patrons and exhibitions

The year 1848 marked a turning point in Courbet’s life, as this is when he presented a dozen of his works at the Salon. He befriended the critic Champfleury, who gave him public visibility and recognition. The following year, the State bought his work Une après-dinée à Ornans, which is now exhibited at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lille and for which he was awarded the second-class medal. Despite his success, several of his works caused confusion and even scandal, such as in 1849 with Les casseurs de pierres (a canvas that had been destroyed), but also at the 1850 Salon with Un enterrement à Ornans. In the second half of the 19th century, it was customary to leave large-format canvases for biblical, mythological or even historical subjects. Yet Gustave Courbet broke the codes by using these huge paintings to represent a familiar and domestic world. Gustave Courbet met Alfred Bruyas, a rich collector who went on to become his patron. By 1854, the galleries of Vienna and Berlin were snapping up Gustave Courbet’s exhibitions. At the fall of the Second Empire, the artist became President of the French Fédération des Artistes.

Gustave Courbet’s Nude Woman Lying Down sold for $15.29 million at Christie’s in New York in 2015.

Recognising Gustave Courbet’s signature

Like many artists, Courbet did not sign all of his works. However, you will find below an example of the signatures to give you an idea. Variations of these signatures do exist, do not hesitate to contact one of our experts to formally authenticate a signature.

expertise signature courbet

Appraising and selling a piece by Gustave Courbet

If you own a piece by Gustave Courbet or any other object, ask for a free estimate via our online form.

You will then be contacted by a member of our team of experts and auctioneers to give you an independent view of the market price of your piece. In the context of a possible sale, our specialists will also advise you on the different options available to sell your work at the best price.