Description The whereabouts of "The Cherry Picker" has been unknown to specialists for at least the better part of the last century; thus, the reappearance of this major canvas is breathtaking. That it should have resided for more than 50 years in the living room of local residents makes its addition to the collection of the Walters seem all the more incredible. Painted at the height of the artist's early maturity, this painting fills a gap in the Walters' otherwise comprehensive representation of French academic painting. Bouguereau's early training included all of the rigors long 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 whom 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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