Before the Impressionists, These Artists Dominated the Parisian Art World
According to Damien Bartoli, La Soif was painted at La Rochelle where the artist summered in 1885 and 1886. Bouguereau employed the same model, a local peasant girl, in two paintings of shepherdesses, which were painted during the same period. The cruche, or glazed ceramic water jug, that also appears in Jeune fille portant une cruche symbolizes the ancient tradition of the source of water as a symbol of spiritual life and salvation.
Signature: Signed and dated center right: W-BOVGVEREAV-1886
Bruce Museum of Arts and Science, Greenwich, Connecticut, 1999, Elegance and Opulence: Art of the Gilded Age, pp. 4 fig. 6 illus. in color, 12 n.n.
Marius Vachon, W. Bouguereau (1900), p. 156
Mark Steven Walker, “A Summary Catalogue of the Paintings,” in William-Adolphe Bouguereau: L’Art Pompier, exhib. cat. (New York: Borghi & Co.,1991), p. 72
Boussod Valadon et Cie., Paris
John Levy Galleries, Inc., New York
Mr. and Mrs. Hubert K. Dalton, New Jersey
Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, October 16, 1941, no. 79, illus.
One of the leading 19th-century French painters working in the academic tradition, William-Adolphe Bouguereau produced scenes taken from classical, mythological, and biblical subjects, focusing primarily on female figures: goddesses, bathers, nudes, and Madonnas. Revered by the Paris academy and greatly admired for his meticulous rendering of skin tones, Bouguereau regularly exhibited at the Paris Salon and was highly successful during his lifetime. His work is also characterized by simplicity and earnestness of emotion and idealized subject matter, for which he often drew derision from the Paris avant-garde, who considered his style outmoded, sentimental, and artificial. It has been suggested that Bouguereau’s sympathetic renderings of children in pastoral settings or indoor spaces, cast in soft lighting, such as The Story Book (1877), was borne out of the loss of one of his children to disease at an early age.
French, 1825-1905, La Rochelle, France