Christie’s announces the highlight of its April 23rd 19th Century sale with this “lost” Bouguereau:
During his lifetime, William Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905) was one of the best known artists in the world and among the most commercially successful. Awarded the Grand Prix de Rome as a young man in 1850, he went to Italy to study the Renaissance masters, particularly Raphael. His early success in the
Paris Salon led to important commissions from the French state, as well as wealthy private clients. This gave the prolific painter the freedom to paint for his own pleasure, including this early work, Idylle: famille antique, which has been in a private collection since the 1950s (estimate: $400,000-$600,000). A reduction of the work belongs to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum in Hartford, CT. A later Bouguereau painting in the sale, Pifferaro (estimate: $250,000-350,000), is an idealized portrait of a young country musician. Bouguereau was born in the countryside and his heart remained there, leading him to spend long stretches outside of Paris painting the monde paysan, the subject for which he is most remembered today.