It is time for another run-through of an auction catalog! Sotheby’s has an upcoming exhibit that is really fascinating. It is titled Bouguereau and His Circle: Then and Now. The pieces that are included are mostly from the 19th century, but it does include some living artists, like Cesar Santos and Tina Garrett. The catalog online includes some wonderful, high-resolution captures of the works included, which for me is always a great draw. I love to see the color-corrected scans of paintings that I have admired. It isn’t the same as seeing them in person, but usually much better than the average image out there on the web.
This particular auction also has several studies and drawings in it, which is also a treat!
Also of note is a painting by Bougouereau’s long-time student and eventual wife, Elizabeth Gardner Bouguereau. She was an American student who studied with Bouguereau and they eventually married. I think she is the only painter to have matched Bouguereau’s skill in painting skin and the piece in this auction also surpasses many of Bouguereau’s works for the complexity of composition.
Let’s take a look at some of the pieces in the auction:
Cesar Santos – Valentina
Odd Nerdrum – Self-Portrait in Armor
William Bouguereau – Study for Premier Bijoux
Charles Amable Lenoir – Portrait de Femme
I love Lenoir’s work. this looks like an unfinished work, but he has some pieces that are so delicate and sensitive in the way they were rendered.
Diogene Ulyssee Napoleon Maillart – Jeune romaine
I love the composition of this painting!
William Bouguereau – Study for the ceiling of the Chapel of the Virgin in La Rochelle
I always love getting a peek behind the curtain to see how a painting was planned!
William Bouguereau – Study of a Man with Outstretched Arms, oil on canvas
Another fantastic study!
William Bouguereau – Study for Biblis
Markus Schinwald – Mabel
An artist I wasn’t familiar with, but I love the big shapes they created in this piece.
William Bouguereau – La Foi
This is a cool drawing to see. It’s a cartoon or a 1:1 scale drawing for transferring to the canvas. I believe that the darker area is from the back of the paper being coated with a thin layer of linseed oil with a small amount of dark brown pigment added. The cartoon was then placed over the canvas and the drawing was traced onto the canvas. The resulting drawing was then inked over to reinforce the lines before being painted over. This is my assumption based on records of how Bouguereau worked. Really cool to see!
William Bouguereau – Two women and putto
Another great study to see. Always inspiring to see how much work and effort was put in in order to ensure a successful final painting!
William Bouguereau – Study of a Mother and Child
Another one! This is more fleshed out in some ways, still so simple and expressive!
William Bouguereau – Portrait Study of Gabrielle Drunzer
Another study. Cool to see the tone of the canvas and the looseness of the brushwork in places. Studies like this are a little different than the compositional studies above, but just as exciting when examining the technique.
Cecile Paul-Baudry – La Sultane Favorite
I thought the jewelry, costuming and veil on this one were really interesting. Cool to see how Paul-Baudry handled the cool yellow sheer fabric over her legs.
William Bouguereau – Study for Hercules at the Crossroads
Another great little study. The figure on the right is beautiful.
Jean Lecomte du Nouy – Saint Jean Baptiste
I thought this was a fascinating painting. It feels really contemporary in a way.
Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau – The Little Mother
Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau – Girl at the Well
I thought this painting was remarkable. It is painted every bit as well as Bouguereau’s best work, but I also think it has a more sophisticated composition than most of Bouguereau’s work. Well done Elizabeth!
William Bouguereau – The Crown of Thorns – Head Study of Christ
One last painting. I thought the palette on this one was interesting so I included it. the darkest darks in it aren’t all that dark! It has an interesting range and choice of colors. It gives it a soft feel that I think is compelling.
Go check out the rest of the images in the auction! And if you want to buy one of the studies and send it to me, let me know 🙂 Ha!