Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau: (October 4, 1837-January 28, 1922) was an American figure painter, born in Exeter, New Hampshire. She studied in Paris under Merle, Lefebvre, and finally under William-Adolphe Bouguereau, whom she married in 1896, and whose manner she adopted so successfully that some of her work might be mistaken for his. Among her best-known works were "Cinderella," "Cornelia and Her Jewels," "Corinne," "Fortune Teller," "Maud Muller," "Daphne and Chloe," "Ruth and Naomi," "The Farmer's Daughter," "The Breton Wedding," and some portraits.
In 1872, Gardner became the first woman awarded a gold medal at the Paris Salon.
Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau was an American from New Hampshire who studied with William Bouguereau, later to become his second wife after the death of his first wife Nellie a few years prior. Her art historical influence is very significant, as she undoubtedly played a role in persuading her husband to use his influence as President of the Academy, Head of the Salon, and President of the Legion d'Honneur, to convince the Academie Julien (and a few years later the École des Beaux Arts) to open their doors to women for the first time in history.
There was a recent exhibition at the Dahesh Museum, NY, called Overcoming All Obstacles: Women Artists of the Academy Julien which featured her work and that traveled to the Clark Museum, Williamstown, Mass., and the Dixon in Memphis. The Dahesh may still stock catalogs for this show, in which Elizabeth Gardener and other important women artists of the era are featured. The catalogue raisonné of her work is currently in preparation.