Bouguereau, William

BORN 30 Nov 1825, La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime: Rue du Duc - DIED 20 Aug 1905, La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime
BIRTH NAME Bouguereau, Adolphe William
CAUSE OF DEATH heart disease
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Cimetière du Montparnasse, 3 Boulevard Edgar Quinet (division 12)

Pupil of Picot. After he won a first prize at the École des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux in 1844 he decided to pursue a painting career. Picot recommended him for the École des Beaux-Arts and he was admitted there on April 8, 1846. In 1849 he was admitted to the Prix de Rome competition, but Boulanger won. In 1850 he participated again, but this time Paul Badry won. Since there was a vacant place at the Villa Medici another Premier Grand Prix was unexpectedly awarded to Bouguereau for his painting "Zénobie retrouvée pas les bergers sur les bords de l'Araxe".

He left for Italy in December 1850 and visited many cities before he returned to France in 1854. In 1856 he was asked to make a painting of Napoleon III and this resulted in "Napoléon III visitant les inondés de Tarascon", exhibited at the Salon of 1859. He married Marie-Nelly Monchablon in 1856 and they had five children. In 1862 he sold another painting to Napoleon III and in 1869 he bought a Rubens and a Van Dyck himself.

Bouguereau was elected a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1876 and in the same year he visited king William III in the Netherlands. His wife and an infant son died in 1877. In 1881 he was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre de Léopold by the king of Belgium (in 1895 he was made a Commandeur). He married the artist Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau in 1896. In 1903 he was made a Grand Officier de Légion d'Honneur.

After 1920 his work was disregarded and for decades art encyclopedias didn't even mention him. In 1974 his work was shown at the New York Cultural Center and in 1984 at the Borghi Gallery. In the following years his works reappeared in museum all over the world.

Work: "Les Danse" (1850, Musée d'Orsay, Paris); "Les Printemps" (1866, Joslyn art Museum, Omaha); "La naissance de Venus" (1879, Musée d'Orsay, Paris).

• Wife: Gardner-Bouguereau, Elizabeth (1896-1905)

Related persons
• was teacher of Cot, Pierre-Auguste
• was teacher of Klumpke, Anna
• was teacher of La Lyre, Adolphe

0/0/1844Bouguerau wins a First Prize with a painting of Saint Roch. He won it at the École des Beaux-Arts in Bordeaux. This made him decide to become a painter. 
23/3/1846Picot recommends Bouguereau at the École dex Beaux-Arts  
8/4/1846Bouguereau is admitted to the École dex Beaux-Arts. He was the 99th to be admitted for 100 available positions. 
27/11/1847Bouguereau wins a medal at the Concours de figure. It was a Second Class medal. 
15/5/1848Bouguereau applices for the National Guard. He did this after protesters had entered the National Assembly. 
23/5/1848Bouguereau starts a diary 
0/6/1848Bouguereau and Pils fight against rioters. They were side by side. 
5/12/1848Last entry in Bouguereau's first diary 
19/5/1849Bouguereau is admitted to the Prix de Rome concours. As the seventh of ten candidates. 
29/9/1849Boulanger wins the Prix de Rome. The Premier Grand Prix was awarded to him for his "'Ulysse reconnu par sa nourrice à son retour de Troie". One of his competitors was William Bouguereau. 
30/9/1849Bouguereau wins a prize for "Saint Pierre".. The full title of the painting was "Saint Pierre, après sa délivrance de prison par l'ange, vient retrouver les fidèles chez Marie". He won the seond of the two Seconds Grand Prix. The first was won by Gustave Boulanger. 
23/3/1850Bouguereau wins a prize with "Le Dédain". He won the prize at the 'concours de la tête d'expression'. 
18/5/1850Bouguereau is admitted to the Prix de Rome competition. This time as the tenth of ten candidates. 
29/6/1850Bouguereau wins a prize at the 'concours de la demi-figure peintre' 
28/9/1850Bouguereau unexpectedly wins a Premier Grand Prix de Rome. The prize had already been awarded to Paul Baudry. Because of a free place at the Villa Medici the academy decided to award a second Premier Grand Prix to Bouguereau for his "Zénobie retrouvée pas les bergers sur les bords de l'Araxe". [Baudry, Paul]
0/6/1856William Bouguereau receives a commission to paint Emperor Napoleon III. The result was 'Napoléon III visitant les inondés de Tarasco'. It was shown as number 319 at the Salon in Paris in 1859. [Napoleon III Bonaparte]
21/5/1876Bouguereau visits king Willem III at Palace het Loo in Apeldoorn. His colleagues Gérôme and Cabanel were there as well. [Gérôme, Jean Léon]


The grave of William Bouguereau at Montparnasse Cimetière, Paris.
Picture by Androom (22 May 1999)


The Catalogue Raisonné, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Borghi Publications, Internet, 1997
Winkler Prins Encyclopedie (editie 1909), 1909
William-Adolphe Bouguereau Biography With All Details |

Boulanger, Ernest

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 31 May 2023