1️⃣Gardeuse de moutons (The Shepherdess), 1881. Oil on canvas.
2️⃣Dans le Bois (In the Woods), 1905. Oil on canvas. (Both from Charles and Emma Frye Collection, Frye Art Museum.)⠀
🔻One of the leading 19th-century French painters working in the academic tradition, William-Adolphe Bouguereau produced scenes taken from classical, mythological, and biblical subjects, focusing primarily on female figures: goddesses, bathers, nudes, and Madonnas. ⠀
🔻Revered by the Paris academy and greatly admired for his meticulous rendering of skin tones, Bouguereau regularly exhibited at the Paris Salon and was highly successful during his lifetime.⠀
🔻His work is also characterized by simplicity and earnestness of emotion and idealized subject matter, for which he often drew derision from the Paris avant-garde, who considered his style outmoded, sentimental, and artificial. ⠀
🔻It has been suggested that Bouguereau’s sympathetic renderings of children in pastoral settings or indoor spaces, cast in soft lighting, was borne out of the loss of one of his children to disease at an early age...⠀
🔻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.
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