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.