Bouguereau, William-Adolphe (1825-1905) by Scholes, Robert

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 – 1905)

Born in La Rochelle, Bouguerau studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Bordeau before moving to Paris. He painted a range of subjects in a very polished style but became notorious for the sensuality of his nudes. His work was very popular, and was displayed prominently at the annual Paris Salon in the later years of the nineteenth century. The object of scorn for such modernists as C├ęzanne, he is beginning to be appreciated again. We can find the modernist view, however, in a review in The New Age, in which G. R. S. Taylor wrote: “We demand to know the worst at an international exhibition, on educational grounds. If we have the nerve to show Mr. Bougureeau’s work here, it was really a friendly act on the part of France to relieve the pressure by giving themselves away by sending Solomon J. Solomon’s”. This comparison was probably inspired by such things as the similarity between Bouguereau’s “Abduction of Psyche” and Solomon‘s “Ajax and Cassandra”. NA 3.14:277

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