Description The whereabouts of "The Cherry Picker" had been unknown to specialists for the better part of the 20th century. Painted at the height of the artist's early maturity, this painting, a gift of two local Baltimore residents, filled a gap in the Walters' otherwise comprehensive collection of French academic painting. Bouguereau's early training included all of the rigors associated with the great tradition of academic Classicism. The time he spent in Italy on a scholarship after winning the much coveted Prix de Rome in 1850 provided the foundation for his mature style: a blend of classicizing idealism based on the Renaissance masters, who he revered, combined with an anecdotal updating that makes his figures seem both timeless and yet approachable. Popular taste, however, encouraged him to make the switch from subjects drawn from classical history to scenes of everyday life. This painting is a prime example of the type of picture for which Bouguereau would become so famous, especially in America.
Provenance Adolphe Goupil, Paris, September 12, 1871, by purchase [from the artist]; Samuel P. Avery, New York, December 12, 1871, by purchase; William B. Bement, Philadelphia [presumably purchased from Avery]; William B. Bement Estate Sale, American Art Galleries, New York, 1899, lot 135; Emerson McMillin, New York, 1899, by purchase; Estate Sale of Emerson McMillin, American Art Galleries, New York, January 20 and 23, 1913, lot 216; Thomas E. Finger Gallery, New York, 1913, by purchase; American Art Galleries, Plaza Art Galleries, New York, March 26, 1943, lot 14; George Brent Dorsey (father of Dorothy Dorsey Bair), Baltimore, 1943, by purchase; Dorothy D. Bair and Robert R. Bair, Baltimore, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 2008-2011, by gift.
Inscriptions Signed, lower left: "W-BOVGVEREAV-1871"
Credit Gift of Dorothy D. Bair and Robert R. Bair, 2008-2011
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