Lot 28
  • 28

William Bouguereau

30,000 - 50,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • William-Adolphe Bouguereau
  • Portrait of a Man
  • signed  W. Bouguereau, inscribed, à son ami Léman, and dated 1850 (lower left)
  • oil on canvas
  • 18 1/8 by 15 in.
  • 46 by 38 cm


Private French Collection (acquired between 1920-1930 and as the artist's self-portrait)
Thence by descent through the family to the present owner

Catalogue Note

When this portrait was acquired by the family of the present owner it was said to be a self-portrait.  Fred Ross and the Bouguereau Committee do not support this identification as the man portrayed does not bear a resemblance to the artist in his known self-portraits of this period and believe that it is more likely a portrait of Ferdinand Chaignaeau who Bougeureau painted in 1847 (see Bartoli nos. 1847/01 and 1847/02).

 We would like to thank Fred Ross and the Bouguereau Committee for providing additional catalouge information.  This work will be included in the forthcoming 3rd edition of the William Bouguereau catalogue raisonné.

In comparing the present work with the artist’s portraits of 1850 and 1853, Louise d'Argencourt cannot confirm the theory that this work is a self-portrait, leaving the identity of this handsome, young man elusive. D’Argencourt believes the present work was painted circa 1847-48 and that Bouguereau may have held the present portrait until 1850, the year he won the Prix de Rome, after which he gave it to Henri Lehmann, his teacher at the École des Beaux-Arts, to thank him for his training (though the artist incorrectly spells the name as Leman in his dedication).  This theory is supported by Bouguereau's pastel version (private collection) of his Prix de Rome winning painting Zénobie retrouvée par les bergers sur les bords de l'Araxe (Bartoli, no. 1850/06, École des Beaux-Arts, Paris), dated 1850 and also dedicated to Léman.

We would like to thank Louise d’Argencourt for providing additional catalogue information.