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William Bouguereau

Crown of Flowers


William Bouguereau
La Rochelle 1825 – La Rochelle 1905


Crown of Flowers




Oil on canvas


162.9 x 89.9 cm


Gift of R. B. Angus, inv. 1889.17


Western Art

“Paint as you see, and be accurate in your drawing,” was the advice of William Bouguereau, an academic painter with a “photo-idealist” style. Indeed, the studio models in this painting – two children in country clothing – are depicted with virtuoso minuteness. But the realism stops there. Although the life-size scale of the girls is a concession to the realism of the period, this image is neither a pitiful plea for the peasantry nor a glorification of country life. For sheer love of the beautiful, Bouguereau idealizes his subjects. These sweet little bucolic faces are imbued with a contemporary nostalgia for the happiness of the countryside and a stock-in-trade picturesqueness that wealthy American buyers appreciated in the paintings of this “pompier” artist, honoured during his lifetime, forgotten and then discovered once again.

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