Portrait of a Young Woman (Portrait de jeune femme)

Portrait of a Young Woman (Portrait de jeune femme)

photo: Bruce M. White
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About This Work

Gustave Courbet (French, 1819–1877)
Portrait of a Young Woman, ca. 1845
Oil on canvas
28.3 x 21.0 cm. (11 1/8 x 8 1/4 in.)


Juliette Courbet (1831–1915). [Possibly Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, after 1915?]. Robert Lebel (1901–1986), Paris. Sylvia Keefe, New York. Henry Pearlman, by 1945; Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation, 1979.

Conservator's Note

Courbet apparently did not feel the need to complete the bottom part of this head study, where the preparatory cream-colored layer is exposed.

Critical Perspective

Painted when Courbet was studying in Paris and making his living as a portraitist, this work has traditionally been identified as a portrait of one of the artist’s sisters, who all frequently modeled for their brother, but no documentation has been found to support this. The pale face emerging from a dark background reflects Courbet’s fascination with Rembrandt in the years between his arrival in Paris in 1839 and his trip to the Netherlands in 1846.