William Adolphe Bouguereau / Bacchante on a Panther / 1855William Adolphe Bouguereau
Bacchante on a Panther

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Creator Name: Bouguereau, William-Adolphe
Creator Nationality: European; French
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1825 - 1905

William Adolphe Bouguereau started drawing at an early age but did not take lessons until 1834, his first year in college in Pons, where his instructor was Louis Sage, who had been a pupil of Ingres (q.v.). In 1841 Bouguereau's father, a wine merchant, moved the family to Bordeaux. The following year he was allowed to attend the École Municipale de Dessin et de Peinture, where he studied under Jean-Paul Alaux. Bouguereau became a bookkeeper for another wine merchant in order to meet the cost of the school. By 1844 he had won the first prize for figure painting, which further encouraged him to pursue his art career. He lived with his uncle in Mortagne from 1845 until 1846, painted portraits of the local landowners, and saved enough money to move to Paris. In 1846 he entered the École des Beaux-Arts and studied under François-Édouard Picot (1786-1868). After several attempts, he finally won the Premier Grand Prix de Rome in 1850. He lived at the Villa Medici in Rome and studied Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, Giotto's Paduan frescos, and those at San Francesco in Assisi. The impact of these works appeared in Bouguereau's oeuvre in the form of classical poses, restraint, and a high degree of finish. After his return to France, Bouguereau exhibited regularly at the Salon, concentrating on classical, genre, and religious themes. In 1858 he was commissioned to decorate his first public building-the Chapel of St. Louis in St. Clotilde Church in Paris. Other public commissions followed, including the chapels of St. Pierre-Paul and St. Jean-Baptiste at St. Augustin Church in Paris, the cupola decorations in the cathedral in La Rochelle, and the ceiling of the Grand Theater of Bordeaux. Bouguereau remained in France during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), fighting in the National Guard. Afterward he taught at the Académie Julian in Paris. In 1876 he fulfilled a lifelong goal, being elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts de l'Institut de France. He received the Legion of Honor in 1878 and was a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1888. Bouguereau's support of the academy and his interest in classicism caused a fall in his popularity at the end of his life. Nevertheless, he died a successful, wealthy artist.

Gender: M
Creator Birth Place: La Rochelle, 30 November 1825
Creator Death Place: La Rochelle, 19 August 1905
Creator Name-CRT: William Adolphe Bouguereau
Title: Bacchante on a Panther
Title Type: Primary
Title: Bacchante sur une panthère
Title Type: Foreign
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1855
Creation End Date: 1855
Creation Date: 1855
Object Type: Paintings
Classification Term: Painting
Materials and Techniques: oil on fabric
Dimensions: Unframed: 71.4cm x 111.3cm
Inscriptions: Signed in red-brown paint lower right: wb [in monogram] / 1855
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1980.238.2
Credit Line: Bequest of Noah L. Butkin
Rights: http://www.clemusart.com/museum/disclaim2.html
Provenance: Commissioned by Anatole Bartholoni, Paris. Paris sale, Drouot, 27 April 1933 (lot 32), Arion chevauchant un monstre marin (lot 33), Bacchante sur une panthère (repr.), Shepherd Gallery, New York, 1972. Christopher Gibbs Ltd., London, 1973. London sale, Sotheby's, 30 November 1977 (lot 208), Arion sur un dauphin; Bacchante sur une panthère (repr.), £6500. Noah L. Butkin, Cleveland. Bequeathed to the CMA in 1980

Part of a series of six paintings that decorated Etienne Bartholony's house in Paris, these paintings emulate ancient Roman designs. Crisp, cut-out forms are set against a gold background painted in imitation of mosaic. Arion was an ancient Greek poet who escaped death by riding away on the back of a sea creature who had been attracted by the poet's song. In the companion picture, a bacchante---a female worshipper of the wine god Bacchus---rides on a panther, the god's symbolic animal.

These works were shown at the 1857 Paris Salon exhibition.

Link to Work: CMA_.1980.238.1
AMICA ID: CMA_.1980.238.2
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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