Micas was the homemaker of the couple, and took care of business matters as well. Referring to Micas, Princess Stirby once commented, "Rosa Bonheur could never have remained the celebrated artist she was without someone beside her." After Micas's death, Bonheur took up with painter Anna Klumpke. Bonheur, Micas and Klumpke are buried together Pere Lachaise Cemetery in France, under a tombstone that reads: Friendship is divine affection. (Picture: Portrait de Nathalie Micas by Rosa Bonheur)
Rosa Bonheur & Natalie Micas, Nice, 1882 (©27)
Rosa Bonheur was a French animalière, realist artist, and sculptor. As a painter she became famous primarily for two chief works: Le labourage nivernais, le sombrage (Ploughing in the Nivernais), which was first exhibited at the Salon of 1848, and is now in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, depicts a team of oxen ploughing a field while attended by peasants set against a vast pastoral landscape; and Le marché aux chevaux (The Horse Fair), which was exhibited at the Salon of 1853 (finished in 1855) and is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City. She lived for over fifty years with her childhood friend Nathalie Micas, whom she met in 1936. Referring to Micas, Princess Stirby once commented, "Rosa Bonheur could never have remained the celebrated artist she was without someone beside her." In the final years of her life, after Micas’s death, she became close with Anna Elizabeth Klumpke and figured out a way in order to leave Klumpke her estate.
Nathalie Micas & Rosa Bonheur are buried together at Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris. Nathalie Micas's ashes were buried along with those of her mother in the tomb Rosa Bonheur had purchased. Bonheur, as she had planned, was interred there in 1899 and, at Anna Elizabeth Klumpke’s death in 1942, hers as well.
The Horse Fair, 1853-1855. The original hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
Edouard Louis Dubufe, Portrait of Rosa Bonheur 1857, which shows the artist with a bull, symbolic of her work as a painter of animals, or Animalière.
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. The Saint-Simonians also prophesied the coming of a female messiah. Her mother Sophie (née Marquis) who died when Rosa Bonheur was only eleven, had been a piano teacher. 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 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. To this practice in the company of her doting mother she attributed her love of drawing animals.
Although she was sent to school like her brothers, she was a disruptive force in the classroom and was consequently expelled from numerous schools. Finally, after trying to apprentice her to a seamstress Raimond agreed to take her education as a painter upon himself. She was twelve at that point and would have been too young to attend the École des Beaux-Arts even if they had accepted women.
As was traditional in the art schools of the period, Bonheur began her artistic training by copying images from drawing books and by sketching from plaster models. As her training progressed she began to make studies of domesticated animals from life, to include horses, sheep, cows, goats, rabbits and other animals in the pastures on the perimeter of Paris, the open fields of Villiers and the (then) still-wild Bois de Boulogne. At age fourteen she began to copy from paintings at the Louvre. Among her favorite painters were Nicholas Poussin and Peter Paul Rubens, but she also copied the paintings of Paulus Potter, Porbus, Louis Léopold Robert, Salvatore Rosa and Karel Dujardin.
She also studied animal anatomy and osteology by visiting the abattoirs of Paris and by performing dissections of animals at the École nationale vétérinaire d'Alfort, the National Veterinary Institute in Paris. There she prepared detailed studies which she would later use as references for her paintings and sculptures. During this period, too, she also met and became friends with the father and son comparative anatomists and zoologists Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire by whom her father was employed to create natural history illustrations.
Rosa Bonheur received a French government commission which led to her first great success, Ploughing in the Nivernais, exhibited in 1849. Her most famous work was the monumental Horse Fair, completed in 1855, which measured eight feet high by sixteen feet wide. Its subject is the horse market held in Paris on the tree-lined boulevard de l’Hôpital, near the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, visible in the background on the left. It led to international fame and recognition and that same year she travelled to Scotland, "en route" meeting Queen Victoria, who admired her work, and where she completed sketches for later works including A Scottish Raid, completed in 1860, and Highland Shepherd. These were anachronistic pieces as they depicted a way of life in the Scottish highlands that had disappeared a century earlier. Nonetheless, they had enormous appeal to Victorian sensibilities. She was especially popular in England, though less so in her native France. In France she was decorated with the Legion of Honour by the Empress Eugenie and was promoted to officer of the order.
She was represented by private art galleries, and in particular that of Ernest Gambart (1814–1902), who would purchase the reproduction rights to her work and sell engraved copies of her paintings. It was Gambart who brought Bonheur to the United Kingdom in 1855. Many engravings were created by the skillful Charles George Lewis (1808–1880), one of the finest engravers of his day. Gambart sold through his gallery in London's Pall Mall.
Due to a tendency in 1980s-1990s academic criticism to locate Bonheur as a proto-Feminist and as a pivotal figure for Queer theory, she is perhaps most famous today because she was known for wearing men's clothing and living together with Anna Klumpke. Her work and artistic talent has now become somewhat secondary in importance to her manner of dress, her choice of companions and her penchant for smoking cigarettes. On her wearing of trousers, she said at the time that her choice of attire was simply practical as it facilitated her work with animals: "I was forced to recognize that the clothing of my sex was a constant bother. That is why I decided to solicit the authorization to wear men's clothing from the prefect of police. But the suit I wear is my work attire, and nothing else. The epithets of imbeciles have never bothered me...."
She died at the age of 77, at Thomery (By), France. Many of her paintings, which had not previously been shown publicly, were sold at auction in Paris in 1900.
While there are many sources of biographical information about Rosa Bonheur, there are three primary texts which are most consulted and cited in the subsequent literature; the first is a pamphlet written by Eugène de Mirecourt, Les Contemporains: Rosa Bonheur which appeared in 1856 just after her Salon success with The Horse Fair. When, in 1897, Venancio Deslandes came across a copy of this pamphlet he sent it to Bonheur with a request that she might tell him if it were accurate. This document, corrected and annotated by Rosa Bonheur herself is a key primary biographical source. The second account was written by Anna Klumpke, an American painter from Boston who made Bonheur’s acquaintance in 1887 while serving as a translator for an American collector of her work and who later became the older artist’s companion in the last year of her life. This account, published in 1909 as Rosa Bonheur: sa vie, son oeuvre was translated in 1997 by Gretchen Van Slyke and published as Rosa Bonheur: The Artist's (Auto)biography, so-named because Klumpke had used Bonheur’s first-person voice. The third, and most authoritative work is Reminiscences of Rosa Bonheur, edited by Theodore Stanton (the son of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the American feminist), and published simultaneously in London and New York in 1910. This volume includes numerous correspondences between Bonheur and her family and friends, subsequently lending the deepest insight into the artist’s life, as well as her understanding of her own art-making practices and the art world in general. The volume is arranged in a loosely chronological fashion, except when letters and reviews are grouped by correspondent or critic.
Anna Elizabeth Klumpke (October 28, 1856 – February 9, 1942), was an American portrait and genre painter born in San Francisco, California, United States. She is perhaps best known for her portraits of famous women including Rosa Bonheur and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1889).
Anna's father, John Gerald Klumpke, born in England or Germany, was a successful and wealthy realtor in San Francisco. Her mother was Dorothea Mattilda Tolle. Anna was the eldest of eight children, five of whom lived to maturity. Among her siblings were the astronomer Dorothea Klumpke-Roberts, the violinist Julia Klumpke, and the neurologist Augusta Déjerine-Klumpke.
At age three, Anna fell and suffered a fracture of her femur. She fell again at age five and suffered osteomyelitis with purulent knee arthritis. These problems handicapped her, and her mother went to extraordinary lengths to find a remedy by taking Anna and three of her siblings to Berlin for treatment by Dr. Bernhard von Langenbeck.
The treatment lasted 18 months and included thermal baths at Kreuznach. Unfortunately, it was not successful, and Anna remained hobbled all her life. While they were in Europe, her mother ensured that her children received excellent tutoring.
The time away in Europe strained the Klumpkes' relationship. When Anna was fifteen, her parents divorced. She and her siblings (now numbering five) moved with their mother to Göttingen, Germany, where they lived for a time with Mattilda's sister, who had married a German national. Anna and her sister Augusta were sent to school at Cannstatt, near Stuttgart. When she was seventeen, the family moved to Clarens, near Lake Geneva in Switzerland where she spent two years in a boarding school.
Anna Elizabeth Klumpke was an American portrait and genre painter born in San Francisco. Klumpke made Bonheur’s acquaintance in 1887 while serving as a translator for an American collector of her work. She then met her again on October 15, 1889, under the pretext of being the interpreter for a horse dealer. Later she became the older artist’s companion in the last years of her life, after the death of Bonheur’s companion of over fifty years, Nathalie Micas. Klumpke was named as the sole heir to Bonheur's estate.
Rosa Bonheur, 1898, by Anna Elizabeth Klumpke (1856-1942), Metropolitan Museum of Art
Anna studied art at home for the next few years, and in October 1877, moved with her family once more to Paris, where she was later enrolled in the Julian Academy (1883–1884), under the tutelage of Tony Robert-Fleury and Jules Lefebvre. At one point, she also studied under Vuillefroy. She presented her first work at the Paris Salon in 1884, while still at the Academy, and she won the grand prize for outstanding student of the year. She exhibited regularly at the Salon for several more years. After completing her studies, she returned to the United States for a few years and taught in Boston. However, by 1889, she was back in Paris.
As a girl, Anna had been given a "Rosa" doll, styled after the French animal painter Rosa Bonheur—so famous at the time that dolls were made in her image. From early childhood, Anna had been fascinated and inspired by the woman artist. Intent on painting Bonheur's portrait, she met Rosa Bonheur on October 15, 1889, under the pretext of being the interpreter for a horse dealer. The two women were soon living together at Bonheur's estate in Thomery, near Fontainebleau, and their relationship endured until Bonheur's death in 1899.
Klumpke was named as the sole heir to Bonheur's estate and oversaw the sale of Bonheur's collected works in 1900. She founded the Rosa Bonheur Prize at the Société des Artistes Français and organized the Rosa Bonheur museum at the Fontainebleau palace.
Klumpke was a meticulous diarist, publishing in 1908 a biography of Bonheur, Sa Vie Son Oeuvre, based on her own diary and Bonheur's letters, sketches and other writings. In the book, which was not published in English until 1998, Klumpke told the story of Bonheur's life and related how she had met Bonheur, how they had fallen in love, and how she had become the artist's official portraitist and companion.
Following Bonheur's death, Klumpke divided her time between France, Boston, and San Francisco, finally settling in San Francisco in the 1930s. During World War I, with her mother, she established a military convalescent hospital at her home in Thomery.
In 1940, at the age of 84, Klumpke published her own autobiography Memoirs of an Artist. She died in 1942 at the age of 86 years in her native San Francisco.
Anna Klumpke was primarily a genre painter, often painting pastoral scenes featuring static figures, usually female. Her painting, Catinou Knitting, was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1887. This sentimental image proved highly popular in reproduction and is still sold in hand-painted copies.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=e
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=e
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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