Jo, La Belle Irlandaise

Artist: Gustave Courbet (French, Ornans 1819–1877 La Tour-de-Peilz)

Date: 1865–66

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 22 x 26 in. (55.9 x 66 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929

Accession Number: 29.100.63

Description

The "beautiful Irishwoman" depicted in this painting is Joanna Hiffernan (born 1842/43), mistress and model of the artist James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903), and perhaps subsequently Courbet’s lover. Although dated 1866, the picture was likely undertaken in 1865, when the two men painted together at the French seaside resort of Trouville; Courbet wrote of "the beauty of a superb redhead whose portrait I have begun." He would paint three repetitions with minor variations.

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