Article on William Bouguereau -Perfectly Relevant Today

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Article on William Bouguereau -Perfectly Relevant Today


Published before 2005


Dear Mr. Ross,
I just read your article on William Bouguereau - written many years ago, but perfectly relevant today. It affected me enough to write this email. WB played a major role in my artistic career. Like you, I heard nothing but disdain for him from art history professors during my BFA 1964-1968 programme at Concordia University in Montreal (in my time called SGWU)

Although WB did not appear in the text book History of Art by H. W. Janson he did in Mainstreams of Modern Art by J. Canaday, but only as a noted artist who appealed to the bourgeoisie. I personally loved the 2 B&W reproductions of Youth and Cupid and The Thank Offering.

I started to read everything I could find on this artist and finally in 1968 when I went to Europe on an ART pilgrimage as a 21 year old I, like you, was absolutely mesmerised and blown away by Bouguereau's paintings. Although I was born in Bucharest, Romania where, as a child I learned the art of drawing from plaster casts of human limbs, in the late 1960's in Canada I was brainwashed to make art in the hard edge, acrylics style which left me cold and unsatisfied. A Master Degree at Pratt Institute in NYC in 1971 did not help me at all. It's only when I matured a little more in the early eighties that I returned to my first love, figurative art, all alone in my studio with no guidance from anyone, here on the West Coast of Canada.

In 1984 I returned to Montreal to see the exhibition chosen to open the newly renovated Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. It was William Bouguereau's massive collection of artworks. What a feast! But I was sad and depressed that I had no schooling, no master to teach me the secrets so carefully kept by old masters when it came to oil painting on canvas; and I was already 38 years old!

Well, I continued to improve on my own and I am still slowly improving, although along the way I switched to mosaic art as my chosen discipline... Ha! Ha! making it double difficult, imagine a mosaic artist TODAY creating figurative and narrative works in both Byzantine and Baroque styles...

I am perfectly happy doing this kind of work in a world that promotes pure crap for art. Despite the vast majority of prima donna curators who only promote themselves instead of facilitating the exposure of worthy visual artists, I found some satisfaction from a few and a modest following as well.

Articles such as this one on W. Bouguereau act as a long awaited affirmation...
Thank you,