In Gustave Courbet's The Calm Sea (1869), the view of calm waters is seen from the coastline at Trouville. It demonstrates the fresh color quality and careful observation associated with plein air painting.
With his easel set up on the shore, Courbet was able to record the light and the moving clouds over the serene sea. The result is a work that evokes atmospheric sensation rather than detailed observation.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Debra N. Mancoff is an art historian and lecturer and the author of numerous books on nineteenth-century European and American paintings. She is a scholar in residence at the Newberry Library.