National Museum of Women in the Arts
Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau
October 04 1837 - January 28 1922
Photograph of Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau, ca. 1864, unknown photographer, courtesy of Miriam Gardner Dunnan Estate
Place of Birth:
Phonetic Spelling:
ee-LIHZ-ah-behth jay-n GAHRD-nerr boo-geh-roh
Minority status:
White non-Hispanic
Work Type/Media:
Artistic Role(s):
History Painter, Painter, Portraitist, Watercolorist
Artist's Biography:
Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau was among the first wave of Americans who sought art training in Paris after the Civil War. Bouguereau's paintings were accepted into twenty-five of the Paris Salons and at the Exposition Universelle, where she won a bronze medal in 1889.

Born in Exeter, New Hampshire, Bouguereau received training in the arts typical of upper-class women. At the Lasell Female Seminary in New Hampshire, she learned to draw and paint watercolors. In 1864, Bouguereau joined the artistic migration to Paris where she studied contemporary as well as old-master paintings.

While Paris beckoned all artists, women were barred from studying at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts. Undaunted by such discriminatory practices, Bouguereau enrolled in private classes. In 1868, she was one of the first American women to exhibit at the Paris Salon, along with Mary Cassatt and Eliza Halderman. In 1877, she began her tutelage with William-Adolphe Bouguereau, whose love of rich color and portrayals of children and domestic scenes met with wide public acclaim.

Religious, historical, and mythological subject matter dominated Bouguereau's oeuvre in the early part of her career. She acknowledged that her work was strongly influenced by William-Adolphe (to whom she became engaged in 1879 but did not marry until 1896). As an ambitious painter, however, she made her own way by producing works in a monumental style most often associated with male artists.

Other Occupation(s):
Place(s) of Residence:
Where Trained/Schools:
Académie Julian, Paris, France (1873 - ca.1877) Gobelins Tapestry School, Paris, France (1872) Private lessons, Paris, France (1864 - ca.1866) Women's cooperative studio, Paris, France (1865)
Related Visual Artists:
wife and student of William-Adolphe Bouguereau student of Hughes Merles student of Jean-Baptiste Ange Tissier student of Jules-Joseph Lefebvre student of Antoine Barye friend of Imogene Robinson Morrell friend of Jane Peterson
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Bronze Medal, Exposition Universelle, Paris, France (1889) Third-Class Medal, Le Salon, Académie des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France (1887) Award, Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia, PA, USA (1876)
Earliest exhibition:
Le Salon, Académie des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France (1868)
NMWA exhibition(s):
American Women Artists: 1830-1930
Four Centuries of Women's Art: The National Museum of Women in the Arts
Related places
Saint-Cloud (died at)
The Shepherd David, ca. 1895