The Curtsey William-Adolphe Bouguereau Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Curtsey by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, or La révérence, to give it its original French title, was completed in 1898

This charming portrait is believed to now be part of a private collection in France, but its precise location is not currently on record. The considerable output of this artist, producing hundreds of paintings within his lifetime, means that some of them have inevitably been hard to track down.

This pretty young girl would appear again in Home from the Fields, of the same year. Indeed, a quick look through his career output will indicate how many models would be used time and time again. Some portraits would even make use of the same clothing, just perhaps alternating the accompanying objects in the composition.

Bouguereau had a tendency to perhaps oversize the feet of his young models. This can be seen in multiple paintings such as also in The Hard Lesson where the feet just seem slightly large when considering the age and frame of these young girls.

The model featured here would appear again in The Seamstress, of the same year. Again, her clothes were modest and traditional and the atmosphere again relaxing. As with most of these portraits, there was also a landscaped background that would be pretty and appropriate, but never distracting the eye from the main focus.

Bouguereau is an interesting artist who may not have travelled around the continent in search of new ideas and inspirations like Turner or Monet, but his style is none the less popular with the art public of both his day and now.