Born in Ornans, France, in 1819, Gustave Courbet received his first artistic training while still in school. In 1839 he moved to Paris to study law, but was soon devoting himself exclusively to painting. He produced numerous self-portraits in which he pictured himself in costume or exhibiting unusual psychological states. He was first represented at the Paris Salon in 1844. His large-format paintings The Stone Breakers and A Burial at Ornans were highly admired at the 1850/1851 Salon. In his time Courbet had numerous critics. In 1866 he created a scandal with his provocative female nude The Origin of the World, but the picture was admired by private connoisseurs. During the revolutionary situation in Paris in 1858 he stayed for a brief time in Frankfurt am Main. On trips to the Normandy coast, to Trouville and Étretat, he painted a number of sea pieces. In 1870 his works with realistic pictures of waves reached a new high point. Courbet was held partly responsible for the toppling of the Vendôme Column in 1871 and was sentenced to prison and a monetary fine. In 1872 he was excluded from the Salon, but in the same year had great success with a show at Durand-Ruel’s. In 1873 he went into exile in Switzerland, where he died in 1877.