The J. Paul Getty Museum

Standing Female Nude

Object Details


Standing Female Nude


Gustave Courbet (French, 1819 - 1877)




France (Place Created)




Compressed charcoal with stumping and lifting on laid paper

Object Number:



62.2 × 46 cm (24 1/2 × 18 1/8 in.)

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Object Description

"To paint human beings, and paint them well--that's the really difficult thing," said Gustave Courbet. His corpulent women shocked his critics, who were accustomed to less earthy depictions of the female form.

Though Courbet painted many female nudes, only two of his drawings of this subject survive. For this composition, Courbet modified the traditional academic nude study, the académie, into a more ordinary, less classically refined figure. He depicted a modern woman, but her classical pose and his sensitive modulation of form and careful rendering of flesh tones recall his study of the Old Masters in the Musée du Louvre.

Courbet made this drawing for a friend who remains unidentified. His inscription--Mon Vieux, C'en est une qu'on enverra à Sainte Beuve s'il nous embête! Gustave Ct. 28 Avril 49 (Old man, here's one to send Sainte Beuve if he gives us a hard time!)--refers to literary historian and critic Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve, who was known for his conservative opinions. The words Les Debats at the woman's elbow probably refer to Le Journal des Débats, which published arts criticism.


Nicos Dhikeos, Cypriot, 1896 - 1987 (Lyons)


Art Market (New York)

Gustave Courbet nelle raccolte private (1988)
  • Compagnia del Disegno (Milan), 1988
18th and 19th Century Drawings (March 15 to May 29, 1994)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), March 15 to May 29, 1994
The Body Beautiful: Artists Draw the Nude (1440-1880) (December 14, 1999 to February 27, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 14, 1999 to February 27, 2000
To Create a Living Art: 19th Century Drawings (May 1 to July 15, 2001)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 1 to July 15, 2001
Defining Modernity: European Drawings, 1800-1900 (June 5 to September 9, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 5 to September 9, 2007
Gustave Courbet (October 8, 2007 to September 28, 2008)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), February 25 to May 18, 2008
Noir: The Romance of Black in 19th Century French Drawings and Prints (February 9 to May 15, 2016)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 9 to May 15, 2016