ROSA BONHEUR'S WORKSHOP

The museum of Rosa Bonheur’s studio

Animal painter and ultra-modern heroine

If you are not familiar with Rosa Bonheur, make sure you don’t miss this chance to learn more about this intriguing artist.

She was the most famous and best-selling painter of the nineteenth century, including men and women. Her paintings were the first to cause prices to soar on the art market. She was so popular that she caused riots when she made appearances, in France and throughout Europe and the United States. Dolls of her were all the rage in America.
She was the idol of personalities all over the world, including Queen Victoria and Buffalo Bill, who were eager to see the exceptional brush technique of this virtuoso animal painter. Bizet and Massenet wrote odes in her honour. Rosa Bonheur was a truly extraordinary artist.

Her life and convictions make her an ultra-modern heroine, a feminist and ecologist before her time. Rosa Bonheur lived in Thomery for nearly 40 years (from 1860 until her death in 1899), on her estate in By, on the edge of the forest of Fontainebleau, surrounded by her pets and wild animals. These included some 40 species, ranging from wolves to monkeys and lions, which shared her daily life and were the subjects of her paintings and sculptures. She strove endlessly to reveal their souls through the depth of their gazes. In Thomery, her studio, archives and the works contained within remain intact to the present day and can be visited.
The museum-studio is located in a wing of the Château de By. Rosa Bonheur had the extension built above the outbuildings.
From the outside, the studio’s huge picture windows can be seen, below the turret and belvedere. This neo-Gothic construction was designed by architect Jules Saulnier, who was well-known for the Chocolats Menier building in Noisiel.

A free artist,Rosa Bonheur opened up many paths for women

  • Rosa Bonheur was the first female painter to be awarded the Legion of Honour in 1865, by Empress Eugénie, a huge gesture that gave legitimacy to the free artistic work of women in the eyes of all.
  • She was the first woman to finance the purchase of a property with the fruit of her labour: she bought the Château de By with revenue from the sale of a single painting – The Horse Fair.
  • She was the first artist whose paintings were the subject of speculation during her lifetime.
  • She was one of the first women to obtain a ” permis de travestissement ”, which authorised her to wear trousers.
 
Rosa Bonheur
 

Time has stood still in Rosa Bonheur’s studio since the 25th of May 1899. All of her everyday objects are there, where she left them, such as her embroidered overall, hat, ankle-boots, palettes, brushes, colours, sketchbooks, notes and even cigarette butts. It is one of the rare artists’ studios conserved in this way and open to visitors. In small groups, visitors are invited to enter the artist’s world, in the intimacy of her studio, study and photo lab, in order to learn about her exceptional story through many extraordinary anecdotes.

The museum and château of Rosa Bonheur

Visiting the museum

The museum is open all year round. Four guided tours are given each day (reservation required). Tour times: 10 am / Noon / 2 pm / 4 pm. Duration: 1½ to 2 hours
Prices: adults: €12; children under 10: €1
Discounted price: Under 25 / job seekers: € 6
For children aged 5 to 12 accompanied by an adult, 45-minute tours, specially designed for them, are available, followed by refreshments at the château’s tea room (a pastry and hot chocolate).
Price: €12 per person
12 rue Rosa Bonheur, Thomery
Site internet : Chateau-rosa-bonheur.fr
Tél. : 09 87 12 35 04
Courriel : contact@chateau-rosabonheur.fr

Cultural events

related to women, art and animal painting are regularly held at the château, including concerts, book signings, conferences, and small debates in the tea room or adjacent former orangery.
Further information: www.facebook.com/museeatelierrosabonheur

The tea room,

located beneath the museum in the château’s former stables, serves tea and pastries, made by the chef, for visitors.
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 5 pm.

Where to see works by Rosa Bonheur ?

In Thomery 

Several sketches and studies are exhibited in the museum.

In Fontainebleau 

A hall in the castle is devoted to the works of Rosa Bonheur.

In Paris 

One of her masterpieces – ” Ploughing in the Nivernais ” – is exhibited at the Musée d’Orsay.

In the United States 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Art Institute of Chicago and National Gallery of Art in Washington, among others.

 





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