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- One has to seek Beauty and Truth, Sir! As I always say to my pupils, you have to work to the finish. There's only one kind of painting. It is the painting that presents the eye with perfection, the kind of beautiful and impeccable enamel you find in Veronese and Titian.
- Bouguereau (1895); Attributed in: Jefferson C. Harrison (1986) French paintings from the Chrysler Museum. Chrysler Museum, North Carolina Museum of Art, Birmingham Museum of Art (Birmingham, Ala.). p.45
- For me a work of art must be an elevated interpretation of nature. The search for the ideal has been the purpose of my life. In landscape or seascape, I love above all the poetic motif.
- Attributed to Bouguereau in: Sotheby's (Firm). (1994) 19th Century European Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture. p. 123; Cited in: Adolphe William Bouguereau Quotes by Armand Cabrera, Oct. 4, 2010
- One is born an artist. The artist is a man endowed with a special nature, with a particular feeling for seeing form and color spontaneously, as a whole, in perfect harmony. If one lacks that feeling, one is not an artist and will never become an artist; and it is a waste of time to entertain the possibility. This craft is acquired through study, observation, and practice; it can improve by ceaseless work. But the instinct for art is innate. First, one has to love nature with all one's heart and soul, and be able to study and admire it for hours on end. Everything is in nature. A plant, a leaf, a blade of grass should be the subjects of infinite and fruitful meditations; for the artist, a cloud floating in the sky has form, and the form affords him joy, helps him think.
- William Bouguereau is unquestionably one of history's greatest artistic geniuses. Yet in the past century, his reputation and unparalleled accomplishments have undergone a libelous, dishonest, relentless and systematic assault of immense proportions. His name was stricken from most history texts and when included it was only to blindly, degrade and disparage him and his work. Yet, as we shall see, it was he who single handedly opened the French academies to women, and it was he who was arguably the greatest painter of the human figure in all of art history. His figures come to life like no previous artist has ever before or ever since achieved. He wasn't just the best ever at painting human anatomy, more importantly he captured the tender and subtlest nuances of personality and mood. Bouguereau caught the very souls and spirits of his subjects much like Rembrandt. Rembrandt is said to have captured the soul of age. Bouguereau captured the soul of youth.
- William Bouguereau (1825-1905) by Damien Bartol on artrenewal.org, 2013