Gustave Courbet (1819–1877) is a key figure in art history. His provocative pictures, and his emphasis upon his individuality as an artist, make him one of the forerunners of modernism. He also broke with the conventions of Academy training. The exhibition dedicated to this early avant-gardist at the Fondation Beyeler brings together self-portraits, representations of women, grotto pictures and seascapes. It focuses on Courbet’s strategy of ambiguity, and his innovative handling of paint. At the heart of the show is Courbet’s famous painting, L’origine du monde. An exhibition on Courbet’s years in self-imposed exile in Switzerland is running concurrently at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Geneva: Fall 2014 is ‘Courbet season’ in Geneva and Basel.