Blind Man's Buff, certainly Baugniet's most gracious and ambitious composition, was purchased, almost immediately after its execution, by the American dry-goods tycoon, Mr. A. T. Stewart. By the year 1862 it is said that his income had reached an astounding $2 million a year. With over 200 paintings and more than a dozen marble sculptures, the art collection of this brilliant man was as impressive as his merchant empire. Other master pieces in Stewart's collection included Gerome's master piece Pollice Verso and Circus Maximus as well as Bouguereau's 1878 submission to the Exposition Universelle, Return from the Harvest.
The brilliance of Stewart and, hence, the success of his business were based on his inventions in the field of customer service. Concepts such as free entrance -being able to browse in a store without the monitoring of a shop keeper- or mail order sales, or one retail price for all were all introduced to America by Stewart. Stewart's greatest act of charity was his purchase of the Hempstead Plains on Long Island where Garden City, a self-sufficient city for the lower income group, would be built.
Blind Man's Buff is not only impressive in size as well as the complexity of its composition, but also in the great attention paid to detail, such as the reflection of the woman's face on the 18th century Chinese black and gold lacquer cabinet on stand, the 17th century Belgian tapestries, the 18th century Italian mirror, and the Louis XVI furniture. Each lady is more beautifully dressed than the next one, and their gestures, however unplanned and instinctive they may appear, are not only the results of a compositional genius but they also represent 19th Century academic painting at its absolute finest.