PORT READING, NJ.- This Herculean effort starting in 1978 by Ross and Mark Walker and 15 years later with the addition of Damien Bartoli, has lead to commencing a complete rewriting of 19th Century art history as academic artists lead by Bouguereau are seen increasingly to have complimented the work of celebrated writers of the day (like Balzac, Hugo and Stendhal) who focused on exposing the plight of the sick, the poor, and the less fortunate and the codifying of Enlightenment ideals respecting human rights, liberty, democracy and "all men are created equal". Especially important is the formerly suppressed seminal role that Bouguereau played (with Rudolph Julian) in opening up the Paris Academies and Salons to women artists, one of many facts that reverse the villainous role that had been taught about him previously. Since 1968 the prices for Bouguereau's paintings have doubled every 3 to 4 years climbing fully 1000 times (100,000%) for solid examples of his work sold at major auction houses in London and New York.
The two-volume boxed set illustrates the complete oeuvre of paintings of this 19th Century master, with information on all of William Bouguereau's 828 known paintings, as well as the entire 600 page biography written by Damien Bartoli, with Fred Ross Chairman of the Art Renewal Center® and President of the Bouguereau Committee.
The huge scope of Bouguereau's work was immensely famous and popular in his own time and then was suppressed for nearly a century, resurfacing in 1980 when the Metropolitan Museum in New York hung 2 of his works. His popularity has gained momentum steadily ever since, and today he is widely recognized as the most popular and beloved of the Academic artists who preceded Impressionism. Diverse, his works span monumental, religious and mythical compositions. But most beloved of all are his deeply touching scenes exploring the depths of human emotions from early childhood through young adult; Poetic renderings of the psychology of youth married to impeccable technical perfection found in an unparalleled number of original and powerful compositions in one masterpiece after another.
Recently, the addition of 5 major works at the Musée d'Orsay and the high-selling price of his Pietá at Christie's Old Masters and 19th Century auction in June, for 2.77 million, which topped the sale, has brought Bouguereau into the public eye; indeed, the arrival of this thoroughly researched and extensively illustrated publication is well-timed, and text books will have to be rewritten as this work has permanently changed how art history of the 19th Century Art should be taught.