Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bouguereau, William-Adolphe

Tête d'Etude l'Oiseau (Dear Bird)
Oil on canvas
87.5 x 69 cm (32 x 26 inches)
private collection

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 - 1905) was a French academic painter. He used mythological themes, making modern interpretations of Classical subjects, with an emphasis on the female human body.
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."

Throughout his lifetime, he staunchly defended the academic tradition of painting and was viewed as an obstructionist by the new generation of painters who were experimenting with Impressionism. While immensely popular during his lifetime, Bouguereau's reputation suffered with the advent of the modernists who viewed his work as mediocre and overly sentimental.

Recent exhibitions have focused attention on the contribution of mid-19th century artists and Bouguereau's work has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. He painted eight hundred and twenty-six paintings.
On August 19, 1905, Bouguereau died in La Rochelle at the age of 79 from heart disease.