Seated Nude

Trained in the academic tradition, Bouguereau viewed the female nude as an ideal subject to display his skill. He rendered this model’s complex pose flawlessly, subtly manipulating light and shade to create a convincing illusion of three-dimensional form. The figure’s skin appears especially soft and smooth in contrast to the raw earth, jagged rock, and glassy water around her. Such craftsmanship attracted Sterling Clark, who continually praised the artist’s technique in his diaries.


The artist, sold to Boussod, Valadon, 15 Nov. 1884; [Boussod, Valadon, Paris, sold to Olry, 27 May 1885]; probably Jacques Olry, Paris, from 1885;¹ [Galerie Lorenceau, Paris, sold to Clark, 29 May 1938]; Robert Sterling Clark (1938–55); Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1955.

1. See Goupil Stock Books, book 11, p. 117, no. 17227.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau

French, 1825–1905

Seated Nude


Oil on canvas

45 7/8 x 35 3/8 in. (116.5 x 89.8 cm) Frame: 55 7/16 x 45 9/16 in. (140.8 x 115.7 cm)

Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1938