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Bonheur, Rosa

Marie-Rosalie (Rosa) Bonheur was born in Bordeaux, France on March 16th, 1822.  After unsuccessfully trying to persuade Rosa to pursue a different occupation, her father agreed to train her and eventually decided to send her for formal training with historical and portrait painter Léon Cogniet.  She first exhibited at the Salon in 1841 with a selection of paintings while she was just nineteen years old, exhibiting again in 1842 and bringing her first sculpture to debut in 1843. Over the next seven years, she produced roughly fifteen animalier models, many of these sculptures in terra cotta and plaster that were cast later in bronze. Among her numerous awards was a Salon Gold Medal in 1848, the LH in 1865 and the LHO 1893. After winning the Gold Medal at Salon for a painting, she began to focus more entirely on her paintings, her most famous of which is “The Horse Fair” in 1853.  Bonheur is widely acknowledged as one of the most successful and influential female artist of the nineteenth-century.


  • Rosa Bonheur, Rosalia Shriver, 1982
  • Rosa Bonheur, sa vie et son ouevre, Anne Klumpke, 1908
  • Dictionairre des Sculpteurs de L'Ecole Française, Vol I, Stanislas Lami, 1970, p. 127
  • Bronzes: Sculptors and Founders 1800-1930, Harold Berman, 1974
  • Art Bronzes, Michael Forrest, 1988
  • The Animaliers, James Mackay, 1973
  • Bronze Sculpture of “Les Animaliers”, Jane Horswell, 1971
  • Animals in Bronze, Christopher Payne, 1986
  • Bronzes of the Nineteenth Century: Dictionary of Sculptors, Pierre Kjellberg, 1994, p. 106-107
  • Rosa Bonheur: Sa Vie, Son Oeuvre, Léon Rodger-Milés, Lyon, 1901