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Title Ploughing in the Nivernais
Collection Atkinson Art Gallery, Southport
Artist Bonheur, Rosa (French animal painter, 1822-1899)
Date 1842 (dated)
Signed yes
Description The great French animal painter, Rosa Bonheur, was only twenty when she painted this work. There is a later, larger painting of the same subject Ploughing in the Nivernais, (1849, Musée National du Château de Fontainebleau). Another signed copy, dated 1850, was sold that year by Bonheur to an A.M. Marc for 4000 francs. The Southport work is therefore the earliest version of a subject that Bonheur returned to repeatedly. The cattle are depicted all in a row resembling the composition of a classical frieze. The later work was said to be inspired by George Sand's The Devil's Pool (1846), but clearly even in this earlier work Bonheur was addressing the key subject of that text, the depiction of labouring animals as noble beasts.
Current Accession Number 1929.370
Inscription front ll 'R Bonheur 1842'
Subject everyday life (ploughing); animal (cattle); figure (farmer)
Measurements 87 x 130 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by J. H. Bell 1929.
Notes 'Bonheur's art, as part of the Realist current that emerged in the 1840s, was grounded in direct observation of nature and meticulous draughtsmanship. She exhibited regularly at the Salon until 1855. Her paintings sold well and were especially popular in Britain and America. After her English tour in 1856 she adopted a more detailed realistic manner, influenced perhaps by Edwin Landseer, though her style evolved little during her long career.' Heather McPherson, 'Bonheur, (Marie-) Rosa [Rosalie]', Grove Art Online, Oxford University Press, 2 March 2006, http://www.groveart.com/.
Rights Owner Atkinson Art Gallery, Southport, Sefton M.B.C. Leisure Services
Author Lisa Howard



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