Very rapidly after renouncing to Historical paintings, Bouguereau became inspired by the ideal and rustic life of peasants which he introduced into his portfolio of compositions. These are themes he knew perfectly well and deeply explored in his paintings.
The dreamy Dévideuse is standing inside a modest rustic interior of lime walls and bare floor and is lost in her thoughts as she pursues her chore of rolling the spinned wool into balls. The accurate representation of the spinning instrument is the result of Bougeureau's inquisitive and perfectionist observations derived from his multi-planar studies of the instrument which still exist.
This nostalgic and idealized painting probably represents an Italian peasant and the model was most certainly a friend of the maître. The tones, colors and facial features of Dévideuse are probably inspired from his Orientalist paintings of 1875-1876, specifically l'Orientale à la grenade, Marchande de grenades and Jeune fille fellah.
We are grateful to Damien Bartoli for preparing this catalogue entry.
This work will be included in the upcoming Bouguereau catalogue raisonné currently being prepared by Damien Bartoli with the assistance of Frederick Ross, the Bouguereau Committee and the American Society of Classical Realism.