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.