William Bouguereau.

william-adolphe-bouguereau-selfportrait

The Artist We Most Admire.

William Bouguereau is renowned and celebrated for his contributions to nineteenth century art, His polished; velvet like “licked finish” refined technique represented the height of achievement in the French academic tradition. Rightly so, Bouguereau’s sophisticated style was universally approved and appreciated in his own time, and he received all of Europe’s highest artistic awards and accolades. Unfortunately with the advent of “the new wave of impressionism” toward the end of the 19th century Bougereau’s work fell from public appreciation and was not revived until some astute and learned collectors and critiques here in the USA took up the cause of academic realist revival at the beginning of the new millennium. Slowly but surely the general public is once again beginning to see the brilliance of this artists technique and choice of subject matter. Art Histories pendulum is swinging back and centre as sections of the art loving public is no longer entranced with the avant-garde, conceptual and unusual and is starting to look back longingly to a time when things were simpler, far more innocent and picturesque, some would even say sentimental. The Emperor of Modern Art is naked and some are starting to speak out about it at last. Kings Galleries has always been in full support of the movement back to realism and away from conceptual daubs. Craft and draftsmanship are becoming recognized once again as the necessities in creating substantial, lasting and salable Art, both in sculpture and oil paintings and the works of William Bouguereau show us the way forward.

As a young man, Bouguereau was accepted by the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and he financed his education by keeping books for a wine merchant and designing and coloring labels for a local grocer. In his spare time, he created drawings from memory of a relatively prosperous carefree childhood, the son of a wine and oil merchant in La Rochelle, France.

In his career Bouguereau produced more than seven hundred finished works of art and achieved a remarkable level of public acclaim and financial success, exhibiting at the Paris for his entire working career. However never forgot his difficult struggling early days as a young painter and he assisted, mentored and  tutored many  young artists who were struggling just as he had.

To see Kings Reproduction of this painting click image

To see Kings Reproduction of this painting click image

Like many painters of the second half of the 19th century, Bouguereau made a careful study of form, technique and draftsmanship; he immersed himself in classical sculpture and painting. True to his serious and conscientious nature, he worked deliberately and industriously: before beginning a painting he studied the subject closely and made innumerable sketches from which he worked slowly adding layer after layer of his licked brushwork until something divine and lifelike emerged in all its glory. Bouguereau was particularly skillful with his portrayal of domestic scenes and children, he used his own children and those of his domestic servants as the models for some of his most sort after paintings, his techniques rendering a most exquisite quality and detailed work of art with the Bouguereau unmistakable use of color and form.

Much more could be said about this remarkable Atelier but I will save these for later articles to be posted on this website. You can see more of Bouguereaus magnificent work at our UK based Gallery Ruby Cavalier Fine Art.