Marguerite 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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It’s difficult to believe that artist William Bouguereau once doubted his artistic abilities. Over the 19th century, the famous painter created pieces of the female form that were not only stunning but timeless. Wealthy Americans and French loved his paintings and regarded him highly.

The Marguerite

The Marguerite is an exquisite painting. The piece captures the innocence and youth of a little girl with her hand over her brow. Her beautiful eyes hold a steady gaze, her pink lips almost breaking into a smile. She gracefully seats with one leg over the other and a bunch of flowers by her side. Bouguereau used traditional painting methods such as pencil and oil sketches managing to create an accurate, pleasing form with perfect composition and balance.

Many admired how he painted the hands, feet, and skin of the subject. Although he also painted religious pieces, he loved peasant subjects like Marguerite. His paintings were very realistic and he remained true to his style. For this reason, younger artists who focused on social and political themes perceived him to be old fashioned.

Where It All Began

William Bouguereau lived between 1825 and 1905. He spent his life doing what he loved most—painting. Although Bouguereau’s family was poor and relatively unknown, he quickly became famous through hard work and artistic talent. His career took off in Paris where he first displayed his important works. Not long after that, he gained popularity across several countries including France, America, and the United States. The artist worked on both religious and pagan themes. He especially loved painting female nudes, which he did so well. He brought to life subjects such as Madonnas, shepherdesses, and bathers, gaining praise and earning several awards.


Bouguereau was a great painter whose pieces live on. Apart from the Marguerite, he created other memorable art such as ‘The Knitting Girl/ Knitting Anne’. This simple but stunning piece is on display at the Joslyn Art Museum, Nebraska. Another painting, ‘The Elder Sister’, is also exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. It is one of the more popular paintings in the museum. It is a depiction of a young girl holding her younger brother. His work is exceptional; the detail and attention that went into creating the art is remarkable.