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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


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

Supporting Sponsors: The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation In memory of Dr. Russel Lee Wiener Samuel H. Kress Foundation The Laskin Family in memory of Myron Laskin, Jr. Kenneth R. Treis Milwaukee Art Museum’s Fine Arts Society
Image:
  • 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.