Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rosa Bonheur: My 19th Century Gal Pal

I haven't posted in a while. Busy, busy life. Would Rosa Bonheur forgive me? Probably not, and good for her! She was a supremely dedicated, talented, and singularly uncompromising artist, who made her way at a time and in a culture that, largely, didn't want to acknowledge an accomplished woman. She was unconventional in this large way. And in small ways. She smoked. She refused to ride side-saddle. She sought, and received, permission to dress "as a man" (particularly at the horse fair) in order to accomplish her work.

Her devotion to animals, and her passion for depicting them, was lifelong. Her most iconic piece, "The Horse Fair," now hangs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (1000 5th Ave.). Go see it. In the meantime, here, for your enjoyment, is my own tribute to this wonderful, but often overlooked, artist.

This piece is now on view at the Society of Illustrators Museum of American Illustration, also in New York City (128 East 63rd St.). The show is "Artists Illustrating Artists." and runs until August 15th, 2015. It's not that far from the Met. See both? "Artists Illustrating Artists" at the Society of Illustrators.

Rosa Bonheur, France, French painter, animals, oil paint, painter, Legion of Honor, The Horse Fair, horse fair

She was also the first woman to be awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor (by Napoleon's Empress, EugĂ©nie, no less). You can learn more about Rosa Bonheur all over the interwebz, but you could stop here first: National Museum of Women in the Arts