Couple of additions to my first post - The museum of modern art in San Francisco had a great permanent collection, they also had incredible exhibitions like the Magritte show which opened an entire new world for me - that of surrealism. My first lesson in art was also at the SFMOMA but oddly enough it was about photography. So there was this major retrospective of Richard Avedon, whom i admired at the time and then there was this show of Robert Frank photographs downstairs. And here for the first time I saw the problem with commercial art standards. So there were these giant gorgeous portraits made by Avedon but because of the commercial strategy and commercial standards he adhered to - they lost their human emotion power battle to the much smaller but made from the heart photos made by Robert Frank. It is all about the punch to the stomach, and that can't be faked with special effects and expensive lighting.
So the lesson was that if it wasn't a battle that the artist fought, if it is not coming form the center and the heart, if it is not true to an inner standard - it won't win the long game. And this is the story with William Bouguereau - incredible technique and special effects, and no punch to the stomach, at least for me.