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Adolphe William Bouguereau - Raspberry Girl

Adolphe William Bouguereau (1825-1905), French
Raspberry Girl, 1890
OIL ON CANVAS, 54 x 32 ¾ inches
Gift in memory of Barbara Ulrich Roberts, 1915-1970

In 1888, the influential critic Clarence Cook observed that Bouguereau was among the most popular artists in America. Americans avidly collected his art during the later century. Bouguereau's interest in the simple, honest beauty of peasants appealed to Americans' wishful self-image as a nation of yeoman farmers. Caught in the midst of rapid industrialization and urbanization, rustic innocence, such as that found in Bouguereau's Raspberry Girl, was a popular subject.

Bouguereau had a more direct influence on American art of the later century as well, as he taught a number of Americans while an instructor at the Academic Julian in Paris. The Academic Julian was far more accessible to foreigners than the better known Ecole des Beaux-Arts, with its stringent entry and language requirements, which few Americans could pass. Under Bouguereau's instruction, Robert Henri, Thomas Anshutz, and Cecilia Beaux, among many others, matured as artists and would later become leaders of the American art world at the turn of the twentieth century.