COURBET, Gustave
(b. 1819, Ornans, d. 1877, La Tour-de-Peilz)

Self-Portrait (Man with Pipe)

Oil on canvas, 45 x 37 cm
Musée Fabre, Montpellier

Among the paintings Courbet exhibited in the 1851 Salon was a self-portrait in which he seems to be judiciously eyeing the spectator. Man with Pipe represented the first important stage in his awareness of the direction that his artistic maturity would take. We note that this was the first self-portrait that Courbet parted with; he had kept all the others and even of this one made a copy that never left his studio.

Man with Pipe was the last in a long series of self-portrait undertaken in the 1840s. Courbet wrote: "It is the portrait of a fanatic, an ascetic. It is the portrait of a man who, disillusioned by the nonsense that made up his education, seeks to live by his own principles."

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