This small painting of the Forests in Fountainbleau in France is an excellent example of the Barbizon School. The Barbizon School of artists were working in France roughly between 1820 and 1870 during a burst of renewed interest in landscape painting. This interest was prompted by the French Academy's introduction of the Prix de Rome in historical landscape painting as well as the exhibition of the paintings of John Constable in France. Thus, Parisian artists began to leave the city to find quintessential French landscapes, and no site was more popular than the 42,000 acres of the Forest of Fountainbleau.
There are many artists of differing styles who are most associated with this movement, including Camille Corot, Théodore Rousseau, and Jean Francois Millet. Even early photographers like Eugène Cuvelier can be counted among the movement. Gustav Courbet was a major influence on the Impressionists and is often associated with the Barbizon School and at one point this painting was attributed to him. The style of the landscape, however, might suggest an artist with closer ties to Rousseau with its more painterly approach to the boughs and leaves of the trees ad the feathery clouds in the sky.
11.88 x 19 inches, painting
19.63 x 16.63 x 2.75 inches, frame
Hand-lettered plaque with title and attribution to Courbet, bottom center.
Housed in a gold finish wood frame with composition decorations.