Pastourelle [Shepherdess], 1889
Oil on canvas, 62.6 x 36.61 inches [159 x 93 cm]
Adolphe-William Bouguereau is in many ways the French equivalent of the British Victorian class of figurative painters - Lawrence Alma Tadema, Lord Leighton, JW Waterhouse - and had he lived in England rather than in the Impressionist laden France, he would be much better known today. Not that Bouguereau is unfamiliar to collectors and museums: in his time his portraits and luxurious paintings of shepherdesses and mythological creatures in a world of eternal beauty were popular and were added to important collections. It is only now with the new respect for the figure in painting that Bouguereau's name is becoming more recognizable.