A Bouguereau for Indianapolis


William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905)
Spring Dream, 1901
Oil on Canvas - 185 x 127 cm
Indianapolis, Museum of Art
Photo Indianapolis Museum of Art

9/6/13 - Acquisition - Indianapolis, Museum of Art - The Museum of Art in Indianapolis has received a donation of Spring Dream, a late work by Bouguereau which belonged to Bren Simon and her husband Malvin (who died in 2009). It is a fine addition to the museum collections which only held a drawing by the artist and a painting by Elizabeth Jane Garner Bouguereau, his wife.
A young woman, draped in blue, seated facing the viewer is surrounded by three small angels ; one is placing a crown of flowers on her head, the other is pointing an arrow in her direction and the third is whispering into her ear. This canvas is very similar to two other works by the painter, The Heart Awakens and Song of Spring but conveys a more dynamic composition, more eloquent gestures, slimmer and more graceful angels, which are also more numerous, and though their ring has nothing to do with an Assault, their members form a circle of pink rays around the central figure. Indeed, Bouguereau was captivated by love’s murmurings and youth which does not always heed its call. He revisited Antiquity, imbued it with feelings and endowed it with clearly understandable symbols. His art, which also recalls that of Vien, though criticized for being so sweet, was very popular, notably in the United States. In fact, we know that his young women from Antiquity were more sought after than his Bohemians as we remember that an American museum sold its painting (see news item of 30/04/04, in French). While there is a fine line between tenderness and sentimentality which some might say he trespassed, Bouguereau also painted subjects worthy of the Romantisme noir currently showing in the exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay.

Version française


Bénédicte Bonnet Saint-Georges, mardi 11 juin 2013



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