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Bather Sleeping by a Brook, 1845

  • Gustave Courbet, French, 1819-1877

Oil on canvas

  • Unframed: 32 × 25 1/2 inches (81.3 × 64.8 cm)
  • 43 1/4 × 37 × 5 1/8 inches (109.9 × 94 × 13 cm)

City of Detroit Purchase


On View

  • Modern C235


European Painting

The matter-of-fact presentation of a nude model resting by a stream in a quickly brushed landscape suggests both Courbet's erotic approach to the female subject in nature as well as his self-proclaimed realism in the somewhat awkward figure itself. In sleep she is unaware of the viewer, who need not be self-conscious in her presence.

Signed and dated, lower left: 45 | G. Courbet

1855, M. Lauwick collection

Count Lami collection

by 1927, (Paul Rosenberg [1881-1959], Paris, France)

1927-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Explication des ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture et gravure des artistes vivants. Exh. cat., Palais des Tuileries. Paris, 1848, p. 78, no. 1011. De l'oeuvre de M. Gustave Courbet. Paris, 1855, no. 13. [M. Lauwick collection, as Femme nu dormant près d'un ruisseau.] Estignard, A. Courbet: Sa vie et ses oeuvres. Besançon, 1896, pp. 20, 151, 184. [M. Lauwich[sic] collection.] Riat, G. Gustave Courbet, peintre. Paris, 1906, p. 35. Meier-Graefe, J. Courbet. Munich, 1921, p. 40. Loan Exhibition of Works by Courbet. Exh. cat., Fearon Galleries. New York, April, 1924, no. 8. [Lent by a private collector.] Heil, W. "A Midday Dream by Gustave Courbet." Bulletin of the DIA 8, no. 8 (1927): pp. 97, 99-100. A Loan Exhibition of French Paintings of the Romantic, Realistic and Barbizon Schools. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1929, cat. 16. [as Midday Dream.] Leger, C. "Courbet." Maîtres d'autrefois. Paris, 1929, pp. 33, 41, 62, pl. 2. [Incorrectly cited as still in collection M. Paul Rosenberg, Paris.] Gustave Courbet. Exh. cat., Petit Palais. Paris, 1929, no. 43. [as Baigneuses; our painting never made it to the Petit Palais due to a dock strike at Havre, however, it is listed in the catalogue.] Heil, W. Catalogue of Paintings in the Permanent Collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1930, cat. 42 (ill.). Courbet and Delacroix. Exh. cat., Marie Harriman Gallery. New York, 1933, no. 3. [as La Rêve à Midi.] A Century of Progress. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1934, p. 31, no. 177. Leger, C. Courbet, 1819-1877. Paris, 1938, pl. 15. Courbet and the Naturalist Movement. Exh. cat., Baltimore Museum of Art. Baltimore, 1938, no. 2. Richardson, E.P. The Way of Western Art,1776-1914. Cambridge, MA, 1939, pp. 105, 107. Classics of the Nude. Exh. cat., M. Knoedler & Co. New York, 1939, p. 22, no. 23. Shoolman, R. and C. Slatkin. The Enjoyment of Art in America. Philadelphia and New York, 1942, p. 553, pl. 522. Boas, G. "Art, Time and Eternity." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 24, no. 919 (1943): pp. 160, 165. Richardson, E.P., ed. Catalogue of Paintings. Detroit, 1944, p. 31, no. 42. Constable, W.G. The Nude in Art. Exh. cat., Wadsworth Atheneum. Hartford, 1946, pp. 5, 8, no. 13. Offin, C. Pictures on Exhibit, New York 11, no. 3 (December 1948): pp. 6-7 (ill.). Visson, A. "Une grande exposition Courbet." Arts, Beaux-Arts, Literature, Spectacles 195 (1948): p. 3 (ill.). Loan Exhibition of Gustave Courbet. Exh. cat., Wildenstein Gallery. New York, 1948, pp. 12, 38, 41, no. 2 (ill.). [as Midday Dream.] Washburn, G. Isms in Art Since 1800. Exh. cat., Rhode Island School of Design. Providence,1949, p. 14, no. 10. Bulletin Société des amis de Gustave Courbet (1949): pl. 9, no. 5. Grigaut, P. From David to Courbet. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1950, pp. 50-51, no. 100. Ragghianti, C.L. "Gustave Courbet." Sele Arte 2, no. 12 (1954): pp. 12-13 (ill.). Grigaut, P.L. The Two Sides of the Medal: French Painting from Gérôme to Gauguin. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1954, p. 11, cat. 4. Albini, A. La 27th Biennale di Venezia. Exh. cat. Venice, 1954, no. 4. [as Baigneuse endormie près d'un ruisseau.] Courbet. Exh. cat., Musée des Beaux arts de Lyon, Palais Saint-Pierre and Petits Palais. Lyon and Paris, 1954, no. 4 (in Lyon); no. 11, pl. 9 (in Paris). Life Magazine 41, no. 17 (1956): p. 108, (ill.). The Venetian Tradition. Exh. cat., Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, 1956, pp. 17, 20, 21 no. 7, pl. 50. The Human Image. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts. Houston, 1958, no. 50. Seghers, P. Gustave Courbet: Propos et présence. 1959, p. 9 (ill.). Masterpieces of Art. Exh cat., North Carolina Museum of Art (in memory of W.R. Valentiner). Raleigh, 1959, suppl., p. 289, pl. 60. Clifford, H. Gustave Courbet, 1819-1877. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art and Museum of Fine Arts. Philadelphia and Boston, 1959, pp. 21, 35, 124-125, no. 7 (ill.). Anatomy and Art. Exh. cat., Atkins Museum and the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art. Kansas City, 1960, pp. 7, 29, 30, no. 100. Taggart, R.E. Anatomy and Art. Nelson Atkins Gallery Museum Bulletin 3, no. 1 (1960): pp. 29-30, no. 100. The Birth of Impressionism. Exh. cat., Wildenstein Gallery. New York 1963, no. 23. 50th Anniversary Exhibition. Art Gallery of Hamilton. Hamilton, Ontario, 1964, no. 5 (ill.). The Romantic Era 1750-1850. Exh. cat., John Herron Museum of Art. Indianapolis, 1965, cat. 55 (ill.). Cummings, F. & C. Elam, eds. The Detroit Institute of Arts Illustrated Handbook, 1971, p. 156. Lindsay, J. Gustave Courbet: His Life & Art. Bath, 1973, p. 27 (fig. 28). [listed incorrectly as from Museum of Modern Art Detroit.] Exhibition of Pictures from Museums of the United States of America. Exh. cat., The Hermitage, State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Kiev State Museum of Ukranian Art, State Museum of the Belorussian SSR. Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev, Minsk, 1976, no. 10 (ill.). Chefs d'oeuvre de musées des Etats-Unis: de Giorgione à Picasso. Exh. cat., Musée Marmottan. Paris, 1976, cat. 23 (ill.). Nochlin, L. Gustave Courbet: A Study of Style and Society. New York, 1976 pp. 34-36 (fig. 31). [Originally published in 1963 as her dissertation from NYU.] The Figure in 19th Century French Painting. Exh. cat., Flint Institute of Arts, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Midland Center for the Arts, and Hackley Art Museum. Flint, Grand Rapids, Midland, and Muskegon, 1978, pp. 42-43, cat. 14 (ill.). 100 Masterworks from The Detroit Institute of Arts. New York, 1985, p. 13 (fig. 4). Faunce, S. and L. Nochlin. Courbet Reconsidered. Exh. cat., Brooklyn Museum of Art and Minneapolis Museum of Art. Brooklyn and Minneapolis, 1988, p. 92, no. 4 (ill.). Wissman, F.W. European Vistas: Cultural Landscapes. Detroit, 2000, pp. 101-102 (ill.). Treasures from the Detroit Institute of Arts: Masters of Impressionism and Modern Art. Exh. cat., Sogo Museum of Art, Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art, Fukui Fine Arts Museum- and Yawatahama Citizen Gallery. Yokohama, Kitakyushu, Fukushima, Fukui, and Yawatahama, 2001, pp. 12, 31, 36, (fig. 6). Bell, Esther, and George T. M. Shackelford, ed. Renoir: The Body, The Senses. Exh. cat., Clark Art Institute, in collaboration with the Kimbell Art Museum. New Haven and London, 2019, cat. 10 (ill.).

Gustave Courbet, Bather Sleeping by a Brook, 1845, oil on canvas. Detroit Institute of Arts, City of Detroit Purchase, 27.202.