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13/10/2015

William-Adolphe Bouguereau

William-Adolphe Bouguereau was a French academic painter and traditionalist. In his realistic genre paintings he used mythological themes, making modern interpretations of classical subjects, with an emphasis on the female human body.
Born: November 30, 1825, La Rochelle, France
Died: August 19, 1905, La Rochelle, France
Education: École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts
Periods: Neoclassicism, Academic art, L'art pompier, Realism
Parents: Théodore Bouguereau, Marie Marguérite Bouguereau
"Bouguereau was a staunch traditionalist whose genre paintings and mythological themes were modern interpretations of Classical subjects, both pagan and Christian, with a concentration on the naked female human body. The idealized world of his paintings brought to life goddesses, nymphs, bathers, shepherdesses, and madonnas in a way that appealed to wealthy art patrons of the era.

Bouguereau employed traditional methods of working up a painting, including detailed pencil studies and oil sketches, and his careful method resulted in a pleasing and accurate rendering of the human form. His painting of skin, hands, and feet was particularly admired. He also used some of the religious and erotic symbolism of the Old Masters, such as the ""broken pitcher"" which connoted lost innocence.

Bouguereau received many commissions to decorate private houses, public buildings, and churches. As was typical of such commissions, Bouguereau would sometimes paint in his own style, and at other times conform to an existing group style. Early on, Bouguereau was commissioned in all three venues, which added enormously to his prestige and fame. He also made reductions of his public paintings for sale to patrons, of which The Annunciation (1888) is an example. He was also a successful portrait painter and many of his paintings of wealthy patrons remain in private hands.

Bouguereau steadily gained the honors of the Academy, reaching Life Member in 1876, and Commander of the Legion of Honor and Grand Medal of Honor in 1885. He began to teach drawing at the Académie Julian in 1875, a co-ed art institution independent of the École des Beaux-Arts, with no entrance exams and with nominal fees.

In 1877, both his wife and infant son died. At a rather advanced age, Bouguereau was married for the second time in 1896, to fellow artist Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau, one of his pupils. He used his influence to open many French art institutions to women for the first time, including the Académie française.

Near the end of his life he described his love of his art: ""Each day I go to my studio full of joy; in the evening when obliged to stop because of darkness I can scarcely wait for the next morning to come ... if I cannot give myself to my dear painting I am miserable."" He painted 826 paintings."

More William-Adolphe Bouguereau Paintings

Cupid with Butterfly - William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Cupid with Butterfly - William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Far Niente, 1904

Far Niente, 1904

Homer and his Guide, 1874

Homer and his Guide, 1874

The younger brother, 1902

The younger brother, 1902

Faneuse, 1869

Faneuse, 1869

Far from home, 1867

Far from home, 1867

Girl bouquet, 1896

Girl bouquet, 1896

Italian Girl Drawing Water, 1871

Italian Girl Drawing Water, 1871

On Greve, 1896

On Greve, 1896

Cupid and Psyche, 1875

Cupid and Psyche, 1875

Flagellation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 1880

Flagellation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 1880

Study Of A Woman For Offering To Love - William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Study Of A Woman For Offering To Love - William-Adolphe Bouguereau

The Bunch Of Grapes, 1868

The Bunch Of Grapes, 1868

Gypsy Girl with a Basque Drum, 1867

Gypsy Girl with a Basque Drum, 1867

A moment of rest, 1900

A moment of rest, 1900

Shepherdess, 1889

Shepherdess, 1889

The Nut Gatherers, 1882

The Nut Gatherers, 1882

Art and Literature, 1867

Art and Literature, 1867

Charity, 1878

Charity, 1878

Psyche and Amour - William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Psyche and Amour - William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Charity

Charity

A Portrait of Eug ne Bouguereau - William-Adolphe Bouguereau

A Portrait of Eug ne Bouguereau - William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Bacchante, 1894

Bacchante, 1894

Berceuse, 1875

Berceuse, 1875

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