Rosa Bonheur (French, 1899)


Born: Bordeaux, France (March 16th)
Awarded Third Class Medal a State Commission for a painting. Paris Salon.
Gold Medal of the First Class. Paris Salon.
Cross of the Legion of Honour
With the exhibition of her 1853 painting "The Horse Fair," Rosa Bonheur was established as one of the greatest animal painters of the 19th century and the most renowned female artist of her generation. Bonheur [nee Marie-Rosalie Bonheur] was born in Bordeaux, France. Her father, Oscar-Raymond Bonheur (1796-1849), was a trained painter and taught the fundamentals of art to Rosa and her brothers Auguste, Isidore, and sister Juliette. All four siblings pursued careers as artists; Isidore (1827-1901) gained acclaim as a sculptor, but Bonheur would prove to be the most successful of the family. Her father was an important influence both socially and artistically; she was later quoted as saying of him: “To his doctrines I owe my great and glorious ambition for the sex to which I proudly belong and whose independence I shall defend until my dying day.”
In her later career, she was known for attending horse fairs, slaughterhouses and even participating in dissections to gain the most thorough and realistic understanding of animal anatomy. Her exceptional attention to detail and form made her a favourite in the Realist and Naturalist schools. Bonheur’s painstaking method of making art involved several sketches and studies; this technique was a classical and meticulous approach. Her artwork was conservative and well received.


Chicago Words Colombian Exposition
Paris Exposition Universelle
Great Exhibit of London
Paris Salon. France.