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Livestream Lecture: Bouguereau & America

La Nuit, bu William Adophe Bougereau. La Nuit, a partially nude woman with thin black material draped around her legs and over her head. She is floating in the air above the seacoast. The sky is lit above with stars, an owl and bats and grey near the earth.A Long, Complicated Love Affair

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William-Adolphe Bouguereau occupies a unique place in the history of American art. A Frenchman who never visited the United States, his works were nonetheless among the most popular, recognizable, and salable among any other artists during his lifetime—especially to Americans. The public, collectors, and many critics fell in love with his chastely sensual classical maidens, Raphaelesque Madonnas, and impossibly pristine peasant children, all painted with extraordinary polish and realism.  This talk will explore the rise and fall of Bouguereau’s popularity in the United States, including the fickle critics and the faithful amateurs. 

Hillwood's Bouguereau painting, La Nuit, will return to view in mid-September, after traveling with the Bouguereau & America exhibition since early 2019. The exhibition, curated by Dr. Stanton Thomas, was hosted by the Milwaukee Museum of Art, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, and San Diego Museum of Art. 

Be sure to look for La Nuit when you plan your next visit to Hillwood. Please note advanced reservations are required


This virtual lecture is presented live via Zoom. The online "waiting room" opens at 6 p.m., and the lecture will begin at 6:30  p.m. Participants can submit questions via the chat feature.
Registered users will be emailed a link to join this Zoom program. To get started, please download Zoom on your chosen device and explore the Frequently Asked Questions. This program will be recorded.


Dr. Stanton ThomasDr. Stanton Thomas received his Ph.D. in Northern Renaissance art from Case Western University in 1998. As part of his course of study, he spent two years in Belgium under the auspices of the Catholic University of Leuven, where he explored the relationship of late medieval Flemish painting to late antique Greek icons. Prior to his doctoral study, Stanton was an independent student at Christian Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany and completed his masters in French colonial architecture and material culture at the University of Missouri, Columbia. In addition to working with Flemish and Old Master paintings, Stanton has worked extensively with American Magic Realist paintings and the decorative arts of Europe and the United States. Before taking the post of curator of exhibitions and collections at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, he was the curator of European and decorative arts at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis, Tennessee. His recent projects and publications include: Bouguereau & America; A Feast for the Eyes: European Masterpieces from the Grasset Collection; Drawn to Beauty: The Art and Atelier of Jean Schlumberger; and The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South.

  • Admiration, by William Adolphe Bouguereau. Five adoring young women gather around the youthful, winged figure of Cupid, the Roman god of love.

    William Adolphe Bouguereau, Admiration, 1897, San Antonio Museum of Art, 59.46 Bequest of Mort D. Goldberg

    courtesy of Stanton Thomas