L’iris (1895)

Bouguereau, William-Adolphe (1825-1905)

L’iris (Woman with Iris)
Oil on canvas, 46 x 38 cm
Princeton University Art MuseumPrinceton

Among the most successful academic painters of the late nineteenth century, Bouguereau received numerous official honors from the French art establishment. Thanks to his Paris dealer, Goupil et Cie, and to American gallerists such as Michael Knoedler, he was also one of the most popular painters on the American market, where his ethereal, gently erotic scenes featuring contented peasant girls and pretty maidens were particularly prized. Patrons were drawn to his brilliant craftsmanship and the porcelain-like finish of his canvases—what Bouguereau himself called “the kind of beautiful and impeccable enamel you find in Veronese or Titian.” (PUAM)