Rosa Bonheur
French painter and sculptor



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Rosa Bonheur
French painter and sculptor

Birth Date

March 16, 1822

Death Date

May 25, 1899


Rosa Bonheur was lucky she had artsy, hippy-dippy parents.

Born into a family of painters, her ma and pa were unusually liberal in that they believed in equal rights for both males and females. How progressive. When Rosa became “unruly” in school, and was eventually expelled for her tomboyish behavior, they encouraged and supported her artistic talents. They even designed a dress with hidden pants for her! She liked to wear men’s clothing so she could blend in crowds of farmers and cowboys while studying the livestock. She caused a scandal by riding a horse astride (the regular way), and retiring after dinner to smoke with the men. However, she also once said, "As far as males go, I only like the bulls I paint." This may explain why she lived with long time "companion" Anna Klumpke.

Bonheur loved animals early on, dead or alive. She went to slaughterhouses to study anatomy and performed dissections to better understand muscle and bone structure. This unsavory work paid off, as she became insanely successful, especially in England. There was a doll made after her and she once met Queen Victoria, who greatly admired her work. No BS.


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Here is what Wikipedia says about Rosa Bonheur

Rosa Bonheur, born Marie-Rosalie Bonheur, (16 March 1822 – 25 May 1899) was a French artist, an animalière (painter of animals) and sculptor, known for her artistic realism. Her most well-known paintings are Ploughing in the Nivernais, first exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1848, and now at Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and The Horse Fair (in French: Le marché aux chevaux), which was exhibited at the Salon of 1853 (finished in 1855) and is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City. Bonheur was widely considered to be the most famous female painter during the nineteenth century.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Rosa Bonheur.