Artist: William Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905)
Title: Étude de tête d'Elize Brugière
Oil on canvas - 18 1/8 x 15 in.
William Adolphe Bouguereau painted Étude de tête d'Elize Brugière (one of the artist's favorite models) around 1895-96. The background is monochromatic and very similar to the colors in the face, but rather than becoming one big blended mess, the artist has been able to make the face pop.
This sketch of the model was meant as a study for his famous work titled L'admiration, which is now housed at the San Antonio Museum of Art in Texas.
Bouguereau painted sketches very fast, often within four hours. The aim would have been to create a color study of the different skin shades observed under the prevailing lighting conditions. Then this study would be placed next to the easel and referred to while working on the larger painting.'
What I find amazing is how the head "pops" although the colors of the skin are so similar in tone to those of the background. By observing the work closer, you can see how he has outlined the contours of the face with a slightly darker color. The addition of the darker rose in the face is also a nice compliment.