Saturday, January 19, 2013

William Adolphe Bouguereau

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825 - 1905)

Head study of a young girl (detail)

Madonna, the Infant Jesus, and St. John the Baptist detail, 1881

Wave, 1896

L’Aurore, Oil on canvas, c. 1881

Spring Breeze

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 – 1905) 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. During his life he enjoyed significant popularity in France and the United States, was given numerous official honors, and received top prices for his work. As the quintessential salon painter of his generation, he was reviled by the Impressionist avant-garde. By the early twentieth century, Bouguereau and his art fell out of favor with the public, due in part to changing tastes. In the 1980s, a revival of interest in figure painting led to a rediscovery of Bouguereau and his work. Throughout the course of his life, Bouguereau executed 822 known finished paintings, although the whereabouts of many are still unknown.