by Joan M. Rehlin
One of our mini art history posts...
French artist Rosa Bonheur (1822–99) is best known for her artistic realism. As an animalière, or painter of animals, she gained international recognition during her lifetime for her monumental Horse Fair oil-on-canvas painting, which was completed in 1855 and measured 8 ft high x 16 ft wide.
Bonheur was born into a family of artists, and as a child who had difficulty learning to read and write, she was taught by her mother to sketch a different creature for each letter of the alphabet. This led to her love of drawing animals, and when her disruptive behavior in school resulted in several expulsions, Bonheur was encouraged by her father—a landscape and portrait painter—to study painting in traditional art school and then animal anatomy at the National Veterinary Institute in Paris.
Bonheur is considered the most famous female painter of the 19th century. Among her many credits: paintings on display in prominent exhibitions including the Paris Salon of 1848, being decorated with the French Legion of Honour by the Empress Eugénie in 1865, and being promoted to Officer of the Order in 1894. Nonetheless, Bonheur became more popular in England than in her native France after she met Queen Victoria, who admired her work. During a time when most women were reluctantly educated as artists, Bonheur's success helped to open doors for the women artists who followed her. Currently, her paintings are in the collections of important institutions, worldwide, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Monarch of the Herd / Le Monarque de la Meute, oil on canvas, 1868, Rosa Bonheur
Welcome to our Art Blog where we'll be presenting topics of interest in the fine art world, including featuring artists other than Jim Rehlin. Some of the artwork has been created by long-departed but well-known greats; some, by compelling contemporary artists. All will be pieces we find worthwhile to share with you. If you like any of these, consider sharing the posts forward to your own blogs and other social media.