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    Sale 12143

    19th Century European Art

    26 October 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 27

    Gustave Doyen (French, b. 1837) and William Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905)

    Enfant tenant des fleurs

    Price Realised  


    Gustave Doyen (French, b. 1837) and William Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905)
    Enfant tenant des fleurs
    signed and dated 'W-BOVGVEREAV-1878' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    35 x 21 ¾ in. (89 x 55.2 cm.)

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    In early 1878, William Bouguereau painted a large work similar to the present painting entitled Fleurs de Printemps which measures 48 7/8 x 22 5/8 inches (Private Collection, USA). Its subject was a magnificent full-length portrait of a standing girl with long blond curls parted à la Venetien style. She is depicted at the side of a forest path, carrying an armful of spring flowers. Bouguereau would use the same model again in his famed composition titled La prière, which can also be dated to this same year.

    Due to the popularity and positive reception of Fleurs de Printemps amongst his colleagues and friends, Bouguereau asked his assistant, Gustave Doyen, to reproduce it. The reproduction was not meant to be a reduction of the same composition, but instead it was to be treated as if it were an entirely different work. The present painting is the same width yet shorter in height than Fleurs de Printemps, and depicts the same charming model holding an armload of flowers. In this version of the composition, the figure is not shown full length, but rather with the composition extending only just past her knees, and set against a dark brown and uniform background. Bouguereau's account books provide evidence that Gustave Doyen was paid a minimum of three hundred francs and possibly more for this work, as Bouguereau often advanced money to his assistant. Before affixing the work with his signature and the date, however, Bouguereau scrupulously retouched and reworked the painting himself as his commercial reputation would have very much been at stake.


    The artist.
    with Goupil et Cie., Paris, 10 May 1878, acquired directly from the above.
    with Theo van Gogh (1857-1891), Amsterdam, 11 April 1878, acquired from the above.
    with Fishel, Adler, & Schwartz Gallery, New York.
    with M. Knoedler & Co., New York, January 1901, acquired directly from the above, as Printemps.
    Warren E. Sherburne, Lexington, Massachusetts, January 1901, acquired directly from the above.
    His sale, American Art Association, New York, 21-22 January 1909, lot 99 as Spring.
    Richard E. Traiser, acquired at the above sale.
    Paul G. Black and Pricilla Barley, Boston.
    Their sale, Sotheby Parke-Bernet, New York, 29 May 1980, lot 117.
    Anonymous sale; Christie's, New York, 23 April 2002, lot 22.
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.

    Pre-Lot Text



    C. Vendryes, Dictionnaire illustré des Beaux-Arts: Bouguereau, Paris, 1885, p. 58 as Enfant tenant des fleurs.
    M. Vachon, William Bouguereau, Paris, 1900, p. 153.
    M.S. Walker, William Bouguereau - A Summary Catalogue of the Paintings, New York, 1991, p. 70.
    D. Bartoli and F. Ross, William Bouguereau: His Life and Works, New York, 2010, p. 467, illustrated pl. 305.
    D. Bartoli and F. Ross, William Bouguereau: Catalogue Raisonné of his Painted Work, New York, 2010, p. 183, no. 1878/09, illustrated.


    Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, November 1978-1979 (on loan).