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May 18
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Talk: Maylis de Kerangal and Jessica Moore ONLINE EVENT The Center for Fiction 15 Lafayette Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217

Bouguereau & America

William‑Adolphe Bouguereau, Washerwomen of Fouesnant, 1869. Oil on canvas. Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester: Bertha Buswell Bequest 55.61.

Bouguereau & America showcases more than forty masterful paintings by the French academic painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905). 

The exhibition explores the artist’s remarkable popularity throughout America’s Gilded Age, from the late 1860s to the early 1900s. During this period, owning a painting by the artist was de rigueur for any American who wanted to be seen as a serious collector: the artist’s grand canvases brought a sense of classic sophistication to newly formed collections. Their chastely sensual maidens, Raphaelesque Madonnas, and impossibly pristine peasant children mirror the religious beliefs, sexual mores, social problems, and desires of that period. Moreover, the exhibition offers an opportunity to examine how society’s perspectives can shift over time.

As the first major exhibition on the artist since the 1980s, Bouguereau & America will offer fresh perspectives on works that form the backbone of many museum collections.

Co-organized with the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

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