Rosa Bonheur at Thirty-Four
Mezzotint by Samuel Cousins, RA (1801-1887).Signed by sitter and engraver.Bears dedication to M. et Mme Lefevre in pencil by Rosa Bonheur.Published in 1856 by Gambart & Co.
17.5 x 13 inches
The animal painter Rosa Bonheur was probably the most famous female artist of the nineteenth century. Born in Bordeaux, the oldest child in a family of artists, her mother taught her to read and write by asking her to choose and draw a different animal for each letter of the alphabet. She was hugely successful in Britain and France, partly thanks to the acumen of her dealer Gambart, who published best-selling engravings after paintings such as her enormous (8x16 feet) The Horse Fair. Unusually, she had a permit from the Paris police to wear men’s clothing, which she found more practical for working with animals. She lived with her first partner, Nathalie Micas, for over 40 years, and after her death began a relationship with the American painter Anna Elizabeth Klumpke. This superb mezzotint was engraved by Samuel Cousins, the first engraver to be elected Royal Academician- Engraver. The dedicatee was the art dealer Léon Lefèvre, Gambart’s nephew and heir to the dealership.