Art: The Big Fellow

Gustave Courbet was a handsome farmer's boy who grew up to be a beer-swilling, loud-mouthed giant—and one of the great painters of the 19th Century. While he lived, Courbet was generally belittled, and after his death he was eclipsed by the sunny brilliance of Manet. But the retrospective exhibition of Courbet's art staged in a Manhattan gallery last week, the biggest Courbet show ever seen in the U.S., gave ample proof of the big fellow's permanence and power.

When he first turned up in Paris in 1839, the farm boy was a little hard...

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