The National Museum of Western Art

update 11 March 2020

on display Permanent collection

Gustave Courbet [Ornans, 1819 - La Tour-de-Peilz, 1877]

Waves

Datec. 1870
Materials/Techniquesoil on canvas
Size (cm)72.5 x 92.5
InscriptionsSigned lower left: G. Courbet.; marked in chalk on a label ‘LERONDELLE’ [packing firm] on the reverse: 82
Credit LineMatsukata Collection
Standard ref.Fernier 683; M331
CategoryPaintings
Collection NumberP.1959-0062
Waves

Courbet painted many works depicting the coast of the English Channel at Tourville and Etretat in the latter half of the 1860s. This coastline provided the stage for works by Corot, Boudin and Monet, and these artists were dubbed the Saint-Siméon Group after a site in this region. Courbet was one of the most active members of this group. In 1868 Courbet, Manet, Monet and Boudin participated in the International Seascape Exhibition in Le Havre. It is thought that Waves was painted on the coast at Etretat in 1869. Courbet's powerful brushwork can be seen in the expression of the constantly changing waves and sky. The huge waves with their white caps rise up and crash under the heavy sky. The waves eventually crash on the huge crags in the foreground. This transitory moment was captured on canvas by his virtuosity. Courbet created several other works on this subject in the same year. (Source: Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2009, cat. no.65)

Provenance

Sale, M. X... (Reitlinger), Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 1 June 1908, lot 9, where purchased by Gradt; sale, Mrs. X..., Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 16–17 December 1919, lot 233, where purchased by Barbazanges; John Levy Galleries, Paris; purchased from John Levy Galleries Kojiro Matsukata, Kobe, 1921 [see letter from John Levy Galleries to Léonce Bénédite, dated 22 November 1921, in Bibliothèque centrale des musées nationaux, Paris (copy in NMWA curatorial file)]; sequestered by French government, 1944; vested in French government under San Francisco Peace Treaty, 1952; transferred from French to Japanese government, 23 January 1959; entered into NMWA, April 1959.

Exhibition History

1947
De David à Cézanne, Palais des Beauz-Arts, Brussel, 1947 - 1948, cat. no. 76, pl. 43
1949
Landscapes in French art, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1949 - 1950, cat. no. 210
1951
Le paysage français de Poussin à Cézanne, Rijksmusenm Amsterdam, 1951 - 1951, cat. no. 29, repr. p. 16
1952
Gustave Courbet, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Besançon, 1952 - 1952
1955
Mostra di capolavori della pittura francese dell'ottocento, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, 1955 - 1955
1956
Peinture française du XIXe siècle, Pushkin Museum, Moscow, 1956 - 1956, Hermitage, Leningrad, cat. repr. p. 103
1960
The Masterpieces of the Ex-Matsukata Collection, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 14 May 1960 - 10 July 1960, cat. no. 20
1962
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Art Gallery of Aichi Prefecture, Nagoya, 17 November 1962 - 9 December 1962, cat. no. 16 (当館記録による)
1962
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Hakutsuru Museum, Kobe, 20 October 1962 - 5 November 1962, P-086
1963
The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Shimane Prefectural Museum, Matsue, 5 October 1963 - 20 October 1963, P-086
1963
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Ishibashi Museum of Art, Kurume, 26 October 1963 - 10 November 1963, P-086
1964
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Nakajima Sports Center of Hokkaido Prefecture, 22 August 1964 - 13 September 1964, cat. no. 6
1965
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Cultural Center of Okayama Prefecture, Okayama, 20 October 1965 - 7 November 1965, cat. no. 5
1965
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art, Kanazawa, 22 September 1965 - 10 October 1965, cat. no. 5
1966
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Cultural Center of Oita Prefecture, Oita, 12 November 1966 - 27 November 1966, cat. no. 5
1966
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Wakayama Prefectural Museum of Art, Wakayama, 15 October 1966 - 4 November 1966, cat. no. 5
1967
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Kagoshima Municipal Museum of Art, 28 April 1967 - 21 May 1967, cat. no. 5
1968
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of Art, Hiroshima, 26 October 1968 - 17 November 1968, cat. no. 6
1968
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Niigata Prefectural Museum, Niigata, 14 July 1968 - 4 August 1968, cat. no. 6
1969
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Cultural Center of Ibaraki Prefecture, Mito, 22 November 1969 - 21 December 1969, cat. no. 5
1970
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, Nagasaki Prefectural Museum, Nagasaki, 18 October 1970 - 15 November 1970, cat. no. 14
1971
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Toyama Prefectural Center, Museum of Art, Toyama, 2 October 1971 - 24 October 1971, cat. no. 14
1972
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Shinano Museum of Art of Nagano Prefecture, Nagano, 12 October 1972 - 5 November 1972, cat. no. 14
1973
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Cultural Center of Kochi Prefecture, Kochi, 28 October 1973 - 25 November 1973, cat. no. 14
1974
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Cultural Center of Fukuoka Prefecture, Fukuoka, 13 October 1974 - 10 November 1974, cat. no. 14
1974
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Saga Prefectural Museum, Saga, 16 November 1974 - 1 December 1974, cat. no. 14
1975
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Yamagata Museum, Yamagata, 1 November 1975 - 30 November 1975, cat. no. 16
1976
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Tottori Prefectural Museum, Tottori, 9 October 1976 - 7 November 1976, cat. no. 9
1977
[Tour Exhibition] The Matsukata Collection of the National Museum of Western Art, The Nara Prefectural Museum, Nara, 15 October 1977 - 13 November 1977, cat. no. 6
1978
[Tour Exhibition] Masterpieces from the National Museum of Western Art, The Art Center of Oita Prefecture, Oita, 20 December 1978 - 31 January 1979, cat. no. 7
2000
Tanka at the National Museum of Western Art: An Encounter between Poet and Art, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 25 July 2000 - 29 October 2000, cat. no. 29
2013
Monet, An Eye for Landscapes: Innovation in 19th Century French Landscape Paintings, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 7 December 2013 - 9 March 2014, cat. no. 46, col. repr.
2014
Voices Calling from the Unusual: Hirano Keiichiro's Selection of Western Art Masterpieces, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 8 April 2014 - 15 June 2014, cat. no. 32
2017
Hokusai and Japonisme, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 21 October 2017 - 28 January 2018, cat. no. 184, col. repr.
2019
The Matsukata Collection: A One-Hundred-Year Odyssey: Upon the 60th Anniversary of the NMWA, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 11 June 2019 - 23 September 2019, cat. no. 103, col. repr.

Bibliography

1906
Riat, G. Gustave Courbet, peintre. Paris, 1906, p. 268.
1927
L'Art et les Artistes. no. 80, Oct. 1927, repr. p. 21.
1955
La Collection Matsukata, Tokyo, Asahi- Shimbun, 1955 (Japanese), no. 3, col. repr.
1959
Mizue: Tokushu Matsukata Korekushon no Kaiga. no. 651, Tokyo, Bijutsu Shuppansha, July 1959 (Japanese), p.10, n. p. col. repr.
1961
Sekai Bijutsu Zenshu. vol. 36, Tokyo, Kadokawa Shoten, 1961 (Japanese), p. 239, no.2, col. repr.
1961
Catalogue du Musée National d'Art Occidental, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1961 (Préface and Catalogue Général in Japanese and French), P-86.
1971
Les cent chefs-d'œuvre du Musée National d'Art Occidental. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1971 (Japanese), no. 16, repr.
1975
Les cent chefs-d'œuvre du Musée National d'Art Occidental. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1975 (Japanese), no. 26, repr.
1978
Fernier, R. La vie et l'œuvre de Gustave Courbet. tome 2, Lausanne/Paris, 1978, p. 80, no. 683, repr.
1978
Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1978 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 32, repr.
1979
The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo: Catalogue of Paintings. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1979, no. 74, repr.
1990
The Old Matsukata Collection. Kobe City Museum, ed. Kobe, "Matsukata Korekushon Ten" Jikkoiinkai, 1990, cat. no. 491.
2006
Masterpieces of The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art; Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2006 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 65, col. repr.
2009
Masterpieces of The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art; Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2009, no. 65, col. repr.
2013
Masterpieces: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2013 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 80, col. repr.
2018
The Matsukata Collection: Complete Catalogue of the European Art. Kawaguchi, Masako; Jingaoka, Megumi, eds. vol. 1: Paintings, Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2018, cat. no. 331, col. repr.

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