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Some thoughts before you buy...
on January 6, 2011
I held off writing a review because I did not have an actual copy in hand to warrant a completely fair assessment but with others experiencing the same problems with the glue used in the binding I figured it worthwhile to give some thought to those contemplating spending $300 to buy this set.
While I do not have a copy of my own, I did get the opportunity to thumb through one and in that particular specimen an entire block of pages had completely fallen apart from spine - even though the rest of the volume was brand new. At the time I thought this was a singular defect but now it (possibly?) appears to be endemic amongst the entire production run. I am curious how those 5 star reviewer's copies are holding up?
Aside from the questionable quality of the book's construction (which should never have been an issue for an item in this price range) I did not find anything special about the overall quality of the images either. Now, I can only pretend to grasp the difficultly in compiling a complete collection of Bouguereau's finished works - but for this reviewer's tastes - I thought this catalog contained far too many images that were either too small, in black and white, or contained colors that were off the mark (ie. too yellow/orange). I am told many catalog raisonnés suffer from this problem and one should be thankful to have the option of purchasing this book, but from the nauseatingly self-aggrandizing posts by the authors on Art Renewal Center you would think this was perhaps one of the greatest art history projects ever committed to paper. And if their investment piece hinting at the secondary market value of this book has any grain of truth in it, it is that a near-mint copy of this book with original binding will certainly carry a premium over all others.