The Artist

Marie-Rosalie Bonheur (1822-1899), called Rosa, was born in Bordeaux.  The daughter of a painter, she showed great talent from an early age, and at nineteen, she exhibited a painting in the Paris Salon of 1841.  She won a gold medal in the Salon of 1848, and quickly gained international fame.  Her animal paintings were much admired by contemporary artists and by influential people such as Empress Eugenia and Queen Victoria of England.  In 1864, she was the first female artist to be named a Knight in the Legion of Honor, and in 1894, she was the first woman to be named an Officer of this order.  Bonheur was a woman of independent and modern ideas, and she resisted the customs of the time by wearing pants in public.

French embassy