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Interesting and Fun Facts about French Painter Rosa Bonheur




Search engine giant Google celebrates the 200th birthday of French artist Rosa Bonheur, widely considered to be the most famous female painter of the 19th century, with a Doodle on March 16, 2022.

Here is a look at the life and work of Rosa Bonheur.


Rosa Bonheur
Rosa Bonheur
  • Birth name: Marie-Rosalie Bonheur
  • Birthdate: 16 March 1822
  • Birthplace: Bordeaux, France
  • Died on: 25 May 1899 (aged 77)
  • Death place: Thomery, France
  • Father name: Oscar-Raymond Bonheur
  • Mother name: Sophie Bonheur
  • Nationality: French
  • Sun sign: Pisces
  • Known for: Painting, sculpture
  • Famous as: French painter and sculptor
  • Notable work: Ploughing in the Nivernais, The Horse Fair

30 Fun and Interesting Facts about Rosa Bonheur

  1. Rosa Bonheur, born Marie-Rosalie Bonheur, French painter and sculptor celebrated for the remarkable accuracy and detail of her photos including animals. She was born on 16 March 1822 in Bordeaux, Gironde, the oldest child in a family of artists.
  2. Her mother was Sophie Bonheur (born Marquis), a piano teacher and her father was Oscar-Raymond Bonheur, a landscape and portrait painter who empowered his daughter’s artistic talents. As a youngster, her father taught her how to paint, offering his oldest an outlet to investigate her passion: animals.
  3. Rosa Bonheur moved to Paris in 1828 at six years old with her mother and siblings, after her dad had gone ahead of them to establish a home and income there.
  4. Raymond Bonheur moved his family to Paris in 1829 and established a studio that served as the family home. He joined the Saint-Simonian movement, a religious association that advocated the equality of women in 1830, and lived separated from his family until 1832.
  5. Soon after her father’s return, Rosa Bonheur’s mother Sophie died, and the family was left to get by without her income. The death of her mother changed Bonheur’s prospects definitely, as her dad was currently obliged to enlist her in a trade school dedicated to teaching young women marketable skills, like sewing.
  6. Following her second ejection from school in 1835, her father decided to give Bonheur artistic training in his studio. The youngster demonstrated a prompt achievement and applied herself energetically to her studies.
  7. In 1836, three years after her mom’s death, Bonheur met Nathalie Micas, who became a lifelong companion. By 1836, Bonheur had arisen as one of her father’s additional promising students. She went with him while he painted a commissioned portrait of a wealthy young woman named Nathalie Micas.
  8. Rosa Bonheur’s lifelong love of animals started when she was only a toddler, and her father’s lessons fostered it. On top of giving live animals to Bonheur to study, he urged her to copy images from books, work from reasonable sculptures, and, eventually, copy paintings at the Louvre.
  9. Albeit the vast majority of her animal paintings portray districts in her native France, some are set in the United Kingdom, where her nostalgic topic prompted a significant amount of popularity.
  10. Notwithstanding her training as a painter, Rosa Bonheur dominated at the formation of small bronzes of animals. Her way to deal with realism is displayed in the 1840 work Rabbits Nibbling Carrots, in which she went to considerable lengths to render the softness of the rabbits’ fur by painting it utilizing many almost fine lines. By her late youngsters, Bonheur’s work had further developed enough that she was prepared to take an interest in her first public appearance.
  11. Rosa Bonheur presented a few paintings and small sculptures for inclusion in the lofty Paris Salon art show of 1841. Her works met with the approval of both critics and the public. Soon after the show, the Bonheur family moved to a new apartment in Paris, where they had the option to keep a small menagerie including ducks, rabbits, quail, squirrels, and sheep.
  12. Rosa Bonheur took part in shows all through the 1840s. Her painting Cows and Bulls of the Cantal was awarded a gold medal at the 1848 show. She accordingly got a huge commission from the French government to make a painting portraying plowing using animal power. The resulting Plowing in the Nivernais, which portrayed two teams of oxen plowing a field, was again hailed as an artistic achievement. Bonheur’s father passed on in 1849 and she was left all alone, a situation that prompted a lot of personal and professional development.
  13. At last, in 1853, Rosa Bonheur’s work was done and The Horse Fair was the vibe of the Salon. The painting sold for the exceptionally high sum of 40,000 francs in 1855 and attracted the great consideration of Queen Victoria of England, who invited Bonheur for a royal visit. The painting was eventually bought by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where it is right now housed.
  14. In 1855, Rosa Bonheur finished her most well-known painting: The Horse Fair, a monumental oil painting of a market in Paris. Respected for its grand scale (it measures more than 16 feet in length and eight feet tall), energetic subject matter, and expressive yet realistic brushwork, the piece was an instant hit. It set Bonheur’s name on the map and, surprisingly, prompted a meeting with the Queen of England.
  15. However Rosa Bonheur was more well known in England than in her native France, she was decorated with the French Legion of Honor by Empress Eugénie in 1865, and was elevated to Officer of the order in 1894. She was the first female artist to be given this award.
  16. Rosa Bonheur’s playful attitude in regards to her public persona was exemplified by her reception of an 1857 picture of herself by Louis Dubufe.
  17. Queen Victoria wasn’t Bonheur’s just a British fan. Her work was more famous in the United Kingdom than it was in France, as British audiences liked her nostalgic way to landscape—whether the English countryside, the Scottish Highlands, or even French farms—as a subject.
  18. Rosa Bonheur’s proceeding with commercial achievement enabled her to buy an enormous chateau in the French town of By, to which she and Micas moved in 1860. The chateau included spacious grounds enclosed by a wall. Bonheur had the option to keep up with what added up to a personal zoological garden, including dogs, Icelandic ponies, deer, gazelles, monkeys, cattle, yak, boar, and a lion. These animals became the subjects of a considerable lot of Bonheur’s works and furnished her with incredible joy.
  19. However Bonheur’s art was traditional, her personal life was, by Victorian standards, unconventional. As well as being a lesbian with a long-term partner (Natalie Micas), Bonheur forewent female attire for men’s clothing-a controversial decision that thusly of-the-nineteenth century-France, required formal permission.
  20. In 1800, the French prefecture issued an official decree specifying that women were prohibited from wearing pants. Shockingly, this order additionally included data about how women could function around this law with a renewable “cross-dressing permit,” which would permit them to wear pants for three or a half years. This exception, notwithstanding, would be made only for medical or health reasons; for Bonheur’s situation, her need to cover her legs while walking around nature got the job done, and she was granted pants permission on May 12, 1857.
  21. Rosa Bonheur became the first female recipient of the French Legion of Honor in 1865. In any case, the award must be introduced to her when Emperor Louis-Napoleon was away, because he went against the bestowal of this award on a woman.
  22. The legal right to wear pants was not the only honor allowed to Bonheur by the state. In 1865, she was the first female artist to be awarded the French Legion of Honor. This achievement was one in a long line of honors, including prizes at the regarded Paris Salon and a gold medal at the 1848 World’s Fair.
  23. In 1894, she was the first woman to be promoted to Officer of the Legion of Honor. This was the last significant distinction she would get until her death five years after the fact.
  24. In the 20th century, Rosa Bonheur broke boundaries to become one of France’s most acclaimed female artists. With her skillfully rendered, realistic paintings of animals, Bonheur spoke to an array of contemporary audiences, from juries of the esteemed Paris Salon to members of the general public. While such a feat would be noteworthy for any female artist, it was especially notable for Bonheur, a gender-bending creative whose proudly women’s activist perspectives shaped everything from her early life to her later achievement.
  25. Rosa Bonheur later got a rosette meaning a second Legion of Honor and was extremely proud for this recognition, wearing her medals prominently while sitting for a picture by Anna Klumpke in 1899. Bonheur kept on scoring artistic success until the time of her death. One of her more famous works portrayed the American celebrity Buffalo Bill Cody, whose wild west show visited France in 1889. Bonheur delighted in painting the show’s wildlife and cast, which included authentic Western cowboys, Mexican vaqueros, and Native Americans. She stayed active following the death of Nathalie Micas later in 1889.
  26. Rosa Bonheur died on 25 May 1899 at 77 years old, at Thomery (By), France. At the time of her own death in France on May 25, 1899, Bonheur’s studio contained more than 1800 studies and works, both got done and incomplete. A large number of her paintings, which had not previously been shown publicly, were sold at auction in Paris in 1900. One of her works, Monarchs of the Forest, sold at auction in 2008 for simply over US$200,000.
  27. Her most popular paintings are Plowing in the Nivernais, first displayed at the Paris Salon of 1848, and presently at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and The Horse Fair (in French: Le marché aux chevaux), which was shown at the Salon of 1853 (completed in 1855) and is currently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City. Bonheur was broadly viewed as the most popular female painter of the 19th century.
  28. Today, Rosa Bonheur’s legacy lives on through her paintings, which are housed in collections all around the world. Notwithstanding enormous institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, her work can be found in the Château de Rosa Bonheur, the artist’s home and studio nestled in the forests of Fontainebleau outside of Paris.
  29. Rosa Bonheur bought the château in 1860 using the returns from an especially lucrative sale: the Met’s obtaining of The Horse Fair. The artist lived and worked in the brick building until her death in 1899, filling it with art supplies and a piano to cigarette butts and taxidermied pets (most outstandingly, Fatma, her lioness). Today, the house serves as a museum dedicated to Bonheur, offering visitors a brief look into her passionate way to deal with her practice.
  30. On 16 March 2022, Google honoured Bonheur with a Doodle to mark Rosa Bonheur’s 200th Birthday.
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