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As a young man, French painter Adolphe-William Bouguereau (1825-1905) put himself through the Ecole des Beau-Arts by keeping books for a wine merchant and coloring lithographic labels for a local grocer. In his spare time, late in the evening, the created drawings from memory.

This diligence and discipline resulted in an extraordinary productive artistic life: He created more than seven hundred finished works and achieved a remarkable level of popular acclaim and financial success. Bouguereau never forgot his difficult early days, however; working secretly, he assisted young artists who were struggling, as he had to pursue an artistic career in the face of financial difficulties.

Like many painters of the second half or the 190th century, Bouguereau made a careful study of form and technique and steeped himself in classical sculpture and panting. True to his serious and industrious nature, he worked deliberately and meticulously: Before beginning a painting, he would master the history of his subject and complete numerous sketches.

The tenderness with which he portrayed children and deomestic scenes, his technical skill and passion for the classics, and his love of of rich color are hallmarks of Boiuguereau's exquisite paingings.

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