Property Sold to Benefit the Daniel M. Tabas Family Foundation
1825 - 1905
L'AMOUR AU REPOS
signed W-BOUGUEREAU- and dated 1904 (lower left)
oil on canvas
36⅝ by 25¼ in.
93 by 64 cm
The following condition report was kindly provided by Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc.:
Not examined out of the frame. This work has been restored and could be hung in its current condition. The canvas is unlined, but the tacking edges have been reinforced to allow for proper stretching on its original stretcher. There is slightly raised cracking to the paint layer, but there is no instability. The cracking has not been retouched.
Originally, Bouguereau painted this figure as Cupid, but subsequently painted over the wings. There are faint pentimenti to the left and right of the hair corresponding to these artist changes.
There are two retouches to small losses in the lower center beneath the figure in the side of the step. The remaining retouches are around the hair of the figure, addressing some thinness to the paint layer. The figure only has two spots of retouching in his left knee.
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Young's Art Gallery, Chicago (acquired in 1954)
Schweitzer Galleries, New York (as Nude Child Seated)
Acquired from the above
Braun & Clément, Oeuvres choisies des maîtres anciens et moderns, 1907, n.p., no. 5449, illustrated
Damien Bartoli and Frederick C. Ross, William Bouguereau, Catalogue Raisonné of His Painted Work, New York, 2010, p. 355, no. 1904/03, illustrated; and in the revised 2014 edition, p. 355, no. 1904/03, illustrated
By 1900 William Bouguereau experimented with a painterly technique used to render his iconic subjects, from mythological fantasies to peasant children. In the present work and select others of the period, the artist employed a brush heavy with pigment in loose, free-moving strokes, building lush, dream-like backgrounds to frame a brilliant Academic study of the human form. Many works of this era were allegorical motifs, following his tableaux de fantasies of the 1880s and 1890s which depicted nymphs or cherubic youths. As suggested by the present work’s title, L’amour au repos, Bouguereau originally painted the child resting on a carved-stone capital as Cupid. The theme of love is pervasive in Bouguereau's oeuvre, particularly as personified by Cupid, the mischievous son of the goddess Venus. Bouguereau explored many different interpretations of the mythical figure, and must have recognized his popular appeal; the present work captured his innocence with a sweet, angelic expression, his curls framed by a soft halo of light. Although missing from the present work, Cupid's characteristic wings are visible in a Braun & Clement photograph taken soon after it was painted in 1904. When L’amour au repos was next photographed in preparation for its 1954 sale at Youngs’s Art Gallery in Chicago (which sold several of the artist’s paintings to midwestern collectors in the early to mid-twentieth century), the young god of love was now without his wings; the choice to “humanize” the subject was perhaps the direction of an earlier owner. No matter the motivation, the earthbound subject is sensitively portrayed, and his realistic, languid pose, soft smile, and bright blue eyes continue to convey a peaceful, innocent figure of childhood, beloved by the artist and his patrons.