Rosa Bonheur

, a French painter and sculptor who lived from 1822 to 1899, is known for her distinctive animal-themed work.

Google changed its logo in five countries to honour Rosa Bonheur on Wednesday, the 200th anniversary of her birth.

Rosa Bonheur story is as follows:

Bonheur was the eldest of four siblings and was born on March 16, 1822, in Bordeaux, France. Her mother, Sophie Marquis, was a musician and her father, Raymond Bonheur, was a drawing teacher.

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Bonheur’s passion for the arts began at a young age.

The artist was quoted as saying, “I was not yet four years old when I conceived a veritable passion for drawing, and I bespattered the white walls as high as I could reach with my shapeless daubs.”

She also developed an affinity for animals, which she attributed to her mother.

Rosa Bonheur Early studies and the city of Paris.

Bonheur and her family relocated to Paris in 1829, where she continued her studies with her father.

Her father developed a preference for the Saint-Simonian philosophy, which promoted gender equality among other values, during their time in Paris.

His daughter, who was placed in the same school as her brothers, inherited his beliefs.

She developed skills while growing up with young boys that she has carried with her throughout her life. “I was the ringleader in all of the games, and I didn’t hesitate to use my fists when necessary,” she said.

Rosa Bonheur’s mother died of cholera when she was ten years old, and the family struggled financially in the years that followed.

Bonheur’s father saw her painting abilities during this time and encouraged her to pursue that path after seeing one of her early paintings – a canvas depicting a bunch of cherries – one day.

Bonheur continued to practise until she was 14 years old, when she began copying paintings at the Louvre Museum.

She then developed a preference for portraying animals while also honing her sculpting skills. She also persuaded her father to let a sheep, and later a goat, a dog, birds, and other animals, into the apartment.


Animals and exhibitions are two of my passions.

Rosa Bonheur’s work was first displayed at the Salon de Paris in 1840. Her paintings Two Rabbits Nibbling on Carrots and Goats and Sheep did not receive much attention at first, but this changed over time.

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By 1843, she had amassed sufficient funds to travel throughout France and continue her focus on sheep, cows, and bulls.

During that time, her reputation as an animal painter and sculptor grew, and after her father died in 1849, she went ahead and opened her own studio with her old friend and companion, Nathalie Micas.


The Horse Fair

The painting Le Marche aux Chevaux  which was submitted to the 1853 Paris Salon, was the pinnacle of Bonheur’s career.

“[Bonheur] was only 31 years old,” author Rosalia Shriver wrote in Rosa Bonheur: With a Checklist of Works in American Collections. No other woman had ever created a work with such force and brilliance, and no other animal painter had ever created a work of such magnitude.”

Her work grew in popularity quickly, and Queen Victoria invited her to visit England in 1855.

Bonheur was awarded the Legion of Honour by Empress Eugenie in 1865, when she was 43 years old. She was the first woman to be awarded this honour.

Bonheur began studying and sketching lions and other animals in 1870, and she later became well-known for her pastel work.

In 1898, Bonheur began living with Anna Klumpe, a young American female artist who agreed to paint several portraits of Bonheur and write her biography.


Rosa Bonheur died of pulmonary influenza a year later, at the age of 77. Before she died, Klumpe completed three of her portraits.

Rosa Bonheur: Why Google honours her today
This, Bonheur’s best-known painting, shows the horse market held in Paris on the tree-lined Boulevard de l’Hopital [File: Sepia Times/Universal Images Group via Getty Images]

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