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Nineteenth-Century European Art - 4 of 7

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Nymphs and Satyr  by William Bouguereau

William Bouguereau
French, 1825-1905
Nymphs and Satyr
Oil on canvas
260 x 180 cm
Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1942

First shown at the Paris Salon in 1873, Bouguereau's monumental Nymphs and Satyr exhibits the hackneyed mythological subject matter and glossy realistic style typical of French academic painting. The playful nymphs, who cajole the hesitant satyr into the water, are displayed advantageously to the viewer. The painting hung for many years opposite the bar in the Hoffman House Hotel in New York, where it was toasted by the habitués, and later inspired the decoration of cigar-box labels, plates, urns, and even bathroom tiles.

This work is being cleaned by the Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC), and is currently off view.