Many web sites set out to help all of us non-French speakers learn to pronounce the eleven letters in his name.
Portrait Artist Forum has a great discussion on pronunciation of both Bouguereau and chiaroscuro.
Pronounce It Right even has an audio. If I were to do a phonetic, it would look like...
or as others have written...
"boo ger oh.."
And from the Concept Art Forum any number of people weigh in but this one comment caught my eye:
Rebecca is close, even if the "gue" is the most difficult part, due to the way French people pronounciate the "E". Said quickly, his name sound close to "'Boo-gro" as said by Midnight. Maybe the most natural way for be understood by French people ?
While checking other sites for pronunciation tips, I ended up finding out how people are approaching their art studies. On WetCanvas, CareyG announced that she had decided to copy some of the great masters to improve her skills. Her first choice was Van Gogh (that name is certainly pronounced many different ways by many different people) and her second was Bouguereau. I find it fascinating how artists learn by imitating. That reminds me that second Sunday is coming up. The Portland Art Museum offers drawing classes before the museum opens. The public can learn techniques from an instructor and "discover the age-old tradition of drawing from masterworks".
"In French, oeuf means egg, cheese is fromage... it's like those French have a different word for everything."