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Bonheur, Marie Rosalie

Born: 1822 AD
Died: 1899 AD
Nationality: French
Categories: Painters

1822 – Marie-Rosalie Bonheur was born on the 16th of March. She was a French realist painter and sculptor.

       – She was first trained by her father, Raymond Bonheur, an art teacher, and later by Léon Cogniet in Paris.

1841 – Bonheur was a regular Salon exhibitor.

1849 – Exhibited her work, the Horse Ploughing at the Nivernais.

1853-1887 – “The Horse Fair,” one of her Salon pieces exhibited, was acquired by Cornelius Vanderbilt for a record sum and became one of her most widely reproduced works.

       – Bonheur was unconventional for her time. She wore trousers, smoked cigarettes, and for a time kept a lioness and would paint only wild animals.

1855 – Completed her most famous work the monumental Horse Fair, which measured 8ft high by 16ft wide.

       – She lived for 50 years with her female companion Nathalie Micas at her country estate near Fontainebleau.

1865 – She became the first woman to receive the Grand Cross of the Légion d’Honneur.

       –  Toward the end of her career these qualities were accentuated by a lighter palette and the use of a highly polished surface finish reminiscent of the famed 17th-century Dutch painter of animals, Paulus Potter.

1899 – She died on the 25th of May at the age of 77 in Melun, France.

1900 – Many of her paintings, were sold at auction in Paris.