Artist: Gustave Courbet (French, Ornans 1819–1877 La Tour-de-Peilz)
Date: ca. 1852–57
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 69 1/2 x 42 1/2 in. (176.5 x 108 cm)
Credit Line: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number: 29.100.130
Several artists ventured portraits of Mathilde Desportes, including the popular academician Jean-Jacques Henner (1829–1905), but her husband, Auguste Cuoq, found most of them unacceptable. This likeness was among those he rejected, reportedly because he felt that it did not adequately convey his wife’s beauty. Courbet appears to have finished the picture to his own satisfaction in 1857, the date he assigned it in the catalogue of the solo exhibition he mounted in Paris in 1867.