Bouguereau & America

February 15–May 12, 2019
Baker/Rowland Galleries

Bouguereau & America showcases more than forty masterful paintings by the French academic painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905). The exhibition explores the artist’s remarkable popularity throughout America’s Gilded Age, from the late 1860s to the early 1900s. During this period, owning a painting by the artist was de rigueur for any American who wanted to be seen as a serious collector: the artist’s grand canvases brought a sense of classic sophistication to newly formed collections. Their chastely sensual maidens, Raphaelesque Madonnas, and impossibly pristine peasant children mirror the religious beliefs, sexual mores, social problems, and desires of that period. Moreover, the exhibition offers an opportunity to examine how society’s perspectives can shift over time.

As the first major exhibition on the artist since the 1980s, Bouguereau & America will offer fresh perspectives on works that form the backbone of many museum collections.

Co-organized with the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

Image: Interactive Map

Interactive Map

Explore a map that follows each painting’s journey through America and learn more about the collectors that helped turn William-Adolphe Bouguereau into a household name. Open the map below to get started.

Interactive Map

The interactive map is designed for computer use. Please explore it on your computer or on the screens within the exhibition.

The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.

Supporting Sponsors: The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation The Laskin Family in memory of Myron Laskin, Jr. Anonymous In memory of Dr. Russel Lee Wiener Four-Four Foundation Samuel H. Kress Foundation Kenneth R. Treis Milwaukee Art Museum’s Fine Arts Society
Thanks to the 2019 Museum Visionaries:John and Murph Burke Sheldon and Marianne Lubar Joel and Caran Quadracci Sue and Bud Selig Jeff Yabuki and the Yabuki Family Foundation

Bouguereau & America is a Layton Art Collection Feature Exhibition. The steward of the collection that Frederick Layton started, one of Milwaukee’s founding public art collections, the Layton Art Collection Inc. is proud to partner with the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Programs + Events

In Focus: Buying Bouguereau: The Rise and Fall of the Market for 19th-Century French Art

Saturday, February 23, 10:30 AM

Explore the changing tastes for nineteenth-century French academic artists such as William-Adolphe Bouguereau with experts in the field. Participants include Dr. Agnès Penot, art dealer; Polly Sartori, founder of Gallery 19C, in Beverly Hills, California, and former head of Christie’s and Sotheby’s nineteenth-century paintings departments in New York; Dr. Leanne Zalewski, associate professor of art history, Central Connecticut State University; and Bouguereau & America co-curators Tanya Paul, Isabel and Alfred Bader Curator of European Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, and Stanton Thomas, curator of collections and exhibitions, Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida.

10:30-11 a.m.: Lecture, Lubar Auditorium
Lecture sponsored by: Layton Art Collection Inc.
11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Curator-led exhibition tour
1:30-2 p.m.: Lecture, Lubar Auditorium
2-2:30 p.m.: Lecture, Lubar Auditorium
2:30-3 p.m.: Discussion, Lubar Auditorium

Optional lunch in Windhover Hall, $35/$30 Member/$25 Fine Arts Society Member RSVP for lunch to Catherine Sawinski at 414-224-3293.

Sponsored by:
Milwaukee Art Musem's Fine Arts Society

Express Talk: Bouguereau & America

Thursday, March 7, Noon

Express Talk: Bouguereau & America

Thursday, March 7, 5:30 PM

Book Salon: Bouguereau & America

Saturday, March 16, 10:30 AM

Gilded Age Tours

Sunday, March 24, 1 PM

Gallery Talk: Bouguereau & America

Tuesday, March 26, 1:30 PM

Express Talk: Bouguereau & America

Thursday, April 4, Noon

Express Talk: Bouguereau & America

Thursday, April 4, 5:30 PM

Member Drink & Think: Bouguereau & America

Thursday, April 18, 5:30 PM

Gallery Talk: Bouguereau & America

Tuesday, April 23, 1:30 PM

Express Talk: Bouguereau & America

Thursday, May 2, 5:30 PM

Gallery Talk: Bouguereau & America

Tuesday, May 7, 1:30 PM
  • William-Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825–1905), Homer and His Guide (Homère et son guide), 1874. Oil on canvas. Layton Art Collection Inc., Gift of Frederick Layton L1888.5. Photographer credit: Larry Sanders.
  • William-Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825–1905), Dream of Spring, 1901. Oil on canvas. Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Gift of Melvin and Bren Simon 2013.33
  • William-Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825–1905), Nymphs and Satyr, 1873. Oil on canvas. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA 1955.658. Photograph: Bridgeman Images
  • William-Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825–1905), Orestes Pursued by the Furies, 1862. Oil on canvas. Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA, Gift of Walter P. Chrysler Jr. 71.623
  • William-Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825–1905), Return of Spring, 1886. Oil on canvas. Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska, Gift of Francis T. B. Martin, 1951.889
  • William-Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825–1905), Art and Literature, 1867. Oil on canvas. Collection of the Arnot Art Museum, Elmira, New York USA