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Gustave Courbet
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    (June 10, 1819-December 31, 1877)
    Born in Ornans, France
    Birth name was Jean Desire Gustave Courbet
    Considered a founder of the Realist movement in painting
    Paintings include 'Self-Portrait (The Desperate Man)' (1843), 'The Man with a Pipe' (1849), 'Stone-Breakers' (1849), 'A Burial at Ornans' (1851), 'The Artist's Studio' (1855), 'Sleep' (1866) and 'Portrait of Jo' (1866)
    Member of the Paris Commune during the Franco-Prussian War (March-May, 1871)
    He put on a lot of weight over the years due to his love of eating and alcohol.
    He had a child out of wedlock with one of his models.
    He declared, 'I am the proudest and most arrogant man in France.'
    He died of edema from heavy drinking.
    Smithsonian magazine wrote that he made 'more recent shockmeisters like Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Robert Mapplethorpe seem almost conventional.'
    Cezanne praised his 'umlimited talent' while Whistler hailed him as his hero.
    He influenced the later generation of Impressionists, including Manet, Monet and Renoir.
    When three of his canvases were rejected for the Exposition Universelle (1855), he set up his own exhibition next door.
    He said about attacks on his paintings, 'I don't care, for when I am no longer controversial, I will no longer be important.'
    The French government held him personally responsible for the destruction of the Vendome Column, a monument to Napoleon, by the Paris Commune, and demanded that he pay 323,000 francs (equivalent to $1.3 million) for a replacement.

Credit: C. Fishel

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