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Rosa Bonheur (FRENCH, 1822-1899)
Rosa Bonheur (FRENCH, 1822-1899)

Blonde D'Aquitaine resting

Details
Rosa Bonheur (FRENCH, 1822-1899)
Blonde D'Aquitaine resting
stamped 'Rosa Bonheur' (lower right) and stamped with vente stamp (on the stretcher on the reverse)
oil on paper laid down on canvas
10 x 14 in. (25.5 x 35.5 cm.)

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Lot Essay

Bonheur was born in Bordeaux, Gironde, the oldest child in a family of artists. Her father Oscar-Raymond Bonheur was a landscape and portrait painter and an early adherent of Saint-Simonianism, a Christian-socialist sect that promoted the education of women alongside men. Bonheur's younger siblings included the animal painters Auguste Bonheur and Juliette Bonheur and the animal sculptor Isidore Jules Bonheur. That the Bonheur family was renowned as a family of artists is attested to by the fact that Francis Galton, the cousin of Charles Darwin, used the Bonheurs as an example of "Hereditary Genius" in his 1869 essay of the same title.

Bonheur was born in Bordeaux (where her father had been friends with Francisco Goya who was living there in exile) but moved to Paris in 1828 at the age of six with her mother and brothers, her father having gone ahead of them to establish a residence and income. By family accounts, she had been an unruly child and had had a difficult time learning to read. To remedy this her mother taught her to read and write by having her select and draw an animal for each letter of the alphabet.

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