William Adolphe Bouguereau, (1825-1905)
William Adolphe Bouguereau was born on November 30, 1825 in La Rochelle and died August 19,1905 in the same village. Unpretentious and modest, he became one the most decorated artists of the nineteenth century. Bouguereau received medals from the Salons and the Universal Expositions, and successive ranks in the Legion of Honor. He was the leading member of the Institute of France and president of the Society of Painters, Sculptors and Engravers.
Bouguereau's reputation as a painter of mythologies does injustice to the painter of tender mothers and children, and to the genre painter of young girls. Most of the genre paintings were executed at his at his birthplace, La Rochelle, garden adjoining his studio.
In 1896, at the age of 71, he married American student, Elizabeth Gardner. Her painting's showed the strong influence of her master. They continued to maintain a workshop and residence at Rue Notre-Dame-des Champs, #75.
Bouguereau's paintings were attuned to the sensibilities of his public and he never deviated from the basic tenets of his Academic training. He was one of the artists who dominated the Salons of the Third Republic and the Academies. He became the last champion of a dying tradition.
Bouguereau became immensely popular in the United States, which is witnessed by the representation on numerous examples of his work in important public and private collections.
National Gallery, Wash., D.C.