Courbet portrayed himself smoking a pipe several times in the late 1840s. A painting, submitted to the Salon of 1850–51, now in Montpellier, presents him with a dreamy, almost somnolent expression. That painting, probably done in 1849, originally showed the artist in a hat, which must date from this same time.

In portraying himself as a peasant (his family were in fact wealthy farmers), Courbet may have been inspired by Dutch low-life genre painting. The defiant, arrogant expression of the drawing, however, surely reflects Courbet’s identification with the peasantry and disdain for the social and artistic status quo of nineteenth-century France.

Gustave Courbet
French, 1819–1877
Self-Portrait, c. 1849
Black chalk on paper
Purchased through the gift of James Junius Goodwin, 1950.605

From Our Collection

Smith, 1992 1934, Picasso Drexler, 1963 1512, del Piombo

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1:00 pm Tour: Highlights
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Hours & Admission

Hours:
Wednesday – Friday: 11 am – 5 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm
First Thursdays: 11 am – 8 pm

Admission:
Members: Free
Adults: $10
Seniors (age 62+): $8
Students (age 13 & over or with college ID): $5
Children (age 12 & under): Free
First Thursdays (from 5-8 pm): $5