Re-Writing the Book on Bouguereau

November 5th, 2010 | posted by Bill Rau

“. . .the arrival of this thoroughly researched and extensively illustrated publication is well-timed, and text books will have to be rewritten as this work has permanently changed how art history of 19th Century Art should be taught.”

- artdaily.org post, October 27th, 2010

"Fleur de Rocaille" featured in Bartoli and Ross’ new cataloge raisonne

As a gallery that specializes in 19th-century European painting, we always get excited when new publications appear on one of the era’s all-stars. One of our favorites is William-Adolphe Bouguereau, an incredibly important artist whose story was silenced for far too long. Fortunately, Bouguereau is back in the spotlight with the recently-published definitive biography and catalogue raisonné of his work, produced by Damien Bartoli and Frederick Ross of the Art Renewal Center.

Bouquereau was, in his day, one of the most decorated and beloved artists of all time. “Each minute costs me 100 francs,” he quipped to a colleague at the pinnacle of career, as commissions cascaded into his studio. His touching genre scenes, infused with both classical refinement and romantic expression, made him a favorite of art collectors around the world. After his death in 1905, however, Bouguereau and his impressive oeuvre fell into obscurity, returning to artistic acclaim only within the last few decades. Publications like Bartoli and Ross’s help to secure Bouguereau’s status among the pantheon of 19th-century greats. The most complete portrait of an often-misunderstood artist, this catalogue raisonné not only re-writes the book on Bouguereau but opens up a new field of scholarship that explores the other artists of the 19th century that have yet to get their due.

To celebrate the arrival of such an important text, we decided to create a dedicated blog to all the other masters of 19th-century painting. Our goal is to not only showcase the best and brightest painters of the age, but also to shed a little light on what made them so important. We’re calling it “The Art Brief,” a taste of a dynamic century in a single-serving size. Stay tuned!

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