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William-Adolphe Bouguereau | Temptation, 1880

Throughout the course of his life, French academic painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) executed 822 known finished paintings, although the whereabouts of many are still unknown.
During his life, he enjoyed significant popularity in France and the United States, was given numerous official honors, and received top prices for his work.
As the quintessential salon painter of his generation, he was reviled by the Impressionist avant-garde.
By the early twentieth century, Bouguereau and his art fell out of favor with the public, due in part to changing tastes.
In the 1980s, a revival of interest in figure painting led to a rediscovery of Bouguereau and his work.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau | Temptation, 1880 | Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Bouguereau in studio painting Two Sisters, 1901

"For me a work of art must be an elevated interpretation of nature. The search for the ideal has been the purpose of my life. In landscape or seascape, I love above all the poetic motif".

"One has to seek Beauty and Truth, Sir! As I always say to my pupils, you have to work to the finish. There's only one kind of painting. It is the painting that presents the eye with perfection, the kind of beautiful and impeccable enamel you find in Veronese and Titian".

"One shouldn’t believe in all those so-called innovations. There is only one nature and only one way to see it. Nowadays, they want to succeed too fast, this is how they go about inventing new aesthetics, pointillism, pipisme! All this is just to make noise".