Lot 614
  • 614

WILLIAM BOUGUEREAU | Le réveil (réduction)

50,000 - 70,000 USD
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  • After William Bouguereau
  • Le réveil (réduction)
  • signed W-BOUGUEREAU (upper right) 
  • oil on canvas 
  • 22 by 18 1/8 in.
  • 55.9 by 46 cm


Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired directly from the artist, September 1865)
M. Wallis
Goupil & Cie, Paris, no. 3413 (acquired from the above, May 1868) 
M. Van Tomputse, The Hague (acquired from the above, August 1868) 
Theo Van Gogh, Amsterdam
Goupil & Cie, Paris, no. 4218 (acquired from the above, May 1869) 
Johann Hendrik Mastenbroek, The Hague (acquired from the above, May 1869) 
Albert du Vannes, New York 
Armand du Vannes, New York (by descent from the above, his father) 
Kurt E. Schon Ltd., New Orleans 
Private Collection, Massachusetts (and sold, Christie's, New York, October 29, 1986, lot 74, illustrated)
Kurt E. Schon, Ltd., New Orleans 
Private Collection, Florida (acquired from the above in 1987)
Thence by descent to the present owner


Damien Bartoli and Frederick C. Ross, William Bouguereau, Catalogue Raisonné of his Painted Work, New York, 2010, p. 87, no. 1865/09A, illustrated; and in the revised 2014 edition, p. 87, no. 1865/09A, illustrated


The following condition report was kindly provided by Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc.: This painting is in very good condition overall. The paint layer is clean and stable. The canvas is unlined and the painting is well stretched. There are retouches visible under ultraviolet light in the mothers face and neck. There are also a few small retouches in the hair of the young girl. There are very small restorations throughout the dark background, mainly near the figure shoulders. These restorations are well applied and only visible under ultraviolet light. The painting should be hung in its current condition.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

In William Bouguereau’s Le réveil, a young mother dressed in Italian costume gingerly holds her baby as he awakens from slumber. At her side, a little girl clasps her hands as if in prayer. Golden light streams over the mother’s shoulder, illuminating the baby’s face and the delicate outline of his outstretched hand, made even more dramatic by the dark room around them. The young blond model for this work is Emilienne Cesil-Biegler (see lot 419). Born in 1859, she was the daughter of Bouguereau's housemaid and, as such, it is likely that Emilienne's brother Henri, born in 1863, may be the model for the infant boy.

Conceived in 1865, Le réveil is known in two sizes, a larger canvas now in a private collection and the present réduction. The year represented an important turning point commercially for Bouguereau, as the death of Jean-Marie Fortuné Durand-Ruel, proprietor of the eponymous gallery in Paris and early champion for the young artist in Paris, led to a new agreement with the savvy Goupil & Cie. His new dealers capitalized on the success of Bouguereau’s most impressive and well-received works, commissioning réductions to satisfy the buying public’s appetite for the works already purchased from the Salon or to provide print makers with a template from which to work.

Compositions that reflected the importance of home and motherhood—tinged with a hint of the sacred—became a favored theme for Bouguereau in the late 1860s, as seen works such as Les oranges (1865, sold in these rooms, May 5, 2011, lot 23), L’invocation á la Vierge (1866, Private Collection) and Premières caresses (1866, Lyndhurst, Tarrytown, New York). The popularity of these compositions is evidenced by the fact that réductions were commissioned of each of them.