Le Désespéré

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Gustave Courbet - Le Désespéré.JPG

Le Désespéré (Desperation or The Desperate Man) is an 1843-1845 oil on canvas self-portrait by Gustave Courbet, produced early during his stay in Paris. It is now in the private collection of the Conseil Investissement Art BNP Paribas but was displayed in the Musée d'Orsay's 2007 Courbet exhibition[1]

The Man Made Mad with Fear, unfinished gouache on paper sketch by Courbet (1843-1844, National Gallery of Norway).

In the 1840s Courbet produced portraits of his friends and clients as well as self-portraits, including Self-Portrait with a Black Dog (1842). He spent time in the Louvre copying works by José de Ribera, Zurbaran, Velasquez and Rembrandt[2] which started to influence his work. He broke from his traditional vertical format for the work. He was attached to Le Désespéré, taking it with him when he went into exile in Switzerland in 1873. A few years later doctor Paul Collin's description of Courbet's studio included a mention of "a painting showing Courbet with a desperate expression, for this reason entitled Désespoir"[3].


  1. ^ (in French) dossier du Musée Fabre Montpellier réalisé par des élèves de terminale L, « Gustave Courbet, un artiste engagé », 30 September 2013, p. 22
  2. ^ "Musée Fabre" (in French).
  3. ^ (in French) Sylvain Amic, Catalogue de l'exposition Courbet au Grand Palais 2007

Bibliography (in French)[edit]