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Gustave Courbet

Gustave Courbet
© Photography: Yeb Wiersma, Amsterdam

Gustave Courbet
© Photography: Simon Schmid / NL, Bern

Gustave Courbet
© Photography: Simon Schmid / NL, Bern

Ulf Küster, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen

Studio Marie Lusa – Marie Lusa, Martina Brassel, Carmen Tobler, Zürich

Aprinta Druck, Wemding

Hatje Cantz Verlag GmbH, Ostfildern

978-3-90605-319-6 (ENG); 978-3-90605-318-9 (DE)

This exhibition catalogue, with its conventional external appearance, has an interior marked by several surprising design decisions that succeed in placing the famous artist in a new light. Here Courbet seems to belong less to the nineteenth century than to the twentieth. The introductory series of full-bleed detail illustrations, which appear in unusual combinations, reveals broad brushwork and sometimes seemingly abstract zones of the paintings. The same effect appears later on when entire paintings are presented in large, full-bleed format. The fact that they run across the gutter, depending on format, is an almost radical departure for traditional art catalogues. The same also applies to the consistently identical type size in the titles, text and captions. The careful editing of the pictures emphasizes individual thematic aspects of Courbet’s paintings in parallel with the scholarly essays. The overall effect is inviting and informative, providing optimal access to the artist’s oeuvre.