The Shepherdess by William Adolphe Bouguereau

  • This exquisite portrait is the work of French academic great William Bouguereau
  • The beautifully finished composition portrays a young shepherdess with a coy smile
  • Deeply influenced by the classical tradition, Bouguereau is renowned for his portraits
  • This painting is included in the catalogue raisonné of the works of Bouguereau by Damien Bartoli
  • Get complete item description here
Price available upon request Item No. 30-4287

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William Adolphe Bouguereau
1825-1905 | French

The Shepherdess

Signed ‘W-Bouguereau-1895’ (lower right)
Oil on canvas

No other artist embodies the ideals of French Neoclassical painting as perfectly as William Adolphe Bouguereau. A student of the neoclassical great, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, his works display an unsurpassed degree of finish and luminous coloration, distinctive hallmarks of the French Salon. This portrait of a young shepherdess leaning against her staff, glancing at the viewer with a coy smile, beautifully demonstrates the master’s genius for human anatomy and ability to capture the nuances of personality and mood of his subjects.

Bouguereau's depictions of young peasant girls such as this are among the most desirable of his extensive oeuvre. With their idealized subjects and meticulous attention to detail, these paintings were highly sought after by his wealthy, mostly American, collectors throughout his long career. He was particularly adept at capturing the ideals of beauty, purity and hope, which were central to his artistic philosophy, without being overly sentimental.

Unpretentious and modest, Bouguereau became one of the most decorated artists of the 19th century. He received medals from theSalon and Universal Expositions, successive ranks in the prestigious Legion of Honor, and was the leading member of the Institute of France and President of the Society of Painters, Sculptors and Engravers. His art never deviated from the basic principles of Academic training and he so dominated the Salon of the Third Republic that it became unofficially known as ‘Le Salon Bouguereau.’

In addition to the accolades of the art world, Bouguereau received many prestigious commissions to decorate public buildings including the Grand Théâtre, Bordeaux and the chapels of Sainte Clothilde, Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Augustin, Paris. He also painted decorations for private mansions of the property entrepreneurs in Paris and La Rochelle. Bouguereau’s paintings are immensely popular in the United States evidenced by the fact that his works can be found in a number of public and private collections across the country.

Circa 1895

Frame: 57 1/8" high x 43 1/4" wide
Canvas: 42 7/8" high x 28" wide

William Bouguereau: His Life and Works, 2010, D. Bartoli and F. Ross, p. 373 (illustrated)

Arthur Tooth & Sons, London (acquired directly from the artist on November 7, 1895)
Sent to New York for the "New York sales," 1895
Private collection of H.J. Heinz, owner of the ketchup firm, 1919
Thence by descent
Carl Roemer
Mrs. EN Taylor
R.J Walker, Texas, 1980
Roughton Gallery, Texas
Private collection, California
Private collection, New Orleans
M.S. Rau, New Orleans
The Shepherdess by William Adolphe Bouguereau
Maker: Bouguereau, William Adolphe
Period: 1816-1918
Origin: France
Type: Paintings
Depth: 4.88 Inches
Width: 43.25 Inches
Height: 57.13 Inches
Style: Academic
Canvas Width: 28 Inches
Canvas Height: 42.875 Inches
The Shepherdess by William Adolphe Bouguereau
Bouguereau and the Art of the Academy

In the age that saw the birth of Impressionism, an emerging group of artists that began to see the world around them in new ways, William-Adolphe Bouguereau stood as one of the most influential and popular upholders of traditio...

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