At Bordeaux Museum of Fine Arts, pictorial breath of Rosa Happiness in his ark of Noé

A retrospective, until September 18, testifies to the renewed interest in the painter who was celebrated in the nineteenth century.


She would have been 200 years on March 16. Its century brought it to the firmament. The following abandoned him in the forgettions of art history. It has only been a few years since Rosa Bonheur is again considered as she deserves it: a singular painter, among the rare women women to have pierced in the very corseted XIX e century; a being of freedom, who was not hiding from living with the women she loved; A pioneer, too, of the rights of the animal.

Because they are cows that she painted, mainly. Portraits of cows, more exactly: each with its individuality, this look that pierces us as if it was that of a peer. More than the pretext of the bicentenary of his birth, all these factors explain the renewed recent interest in the forgotten star of the Second Empire, as evidenced by the retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts in Bordeaux. She will travel in the fall at the Musée d’Orsay, which hung on in 1986, in one of her great alleys, her masterpiece: Nivernais plowing. The public loves it; The experts took a long time to look at it.

Twenty-five years ago, the same Bordeaux museum already granted Rosa Bonheur an exhibition: she went completely unnoticed. In the catalog, the art historian Bruno Foucart claims the need “to call the” tribunal-museum “” the Rosa Bonheur affair, “star of his time but fallen into oblivion, which became at best cases school illustrating the errors of taste of an era, “recall Sandra Buratti-Hasan and Leïla Jarbouai in the catalog of the current exhibition.

And to specify: “Rosa Bonheur did not only suffer from her smooth painting too coarsely associated with academism, nor only because of being an artist woman: her progressive erasure of the history of the ‘Art is also linked to too long anthropocentric tradition and in defiance of the animal genre “. She also undoubtedly paid her status as an official artist, friend of Empress Eugenie, and second woman to have been able to pin the Legion of Honor to her jacket. Today, fortunately, the trial is finished, and the judgment without appeal. Thanks to the lawyers for gender studies, animal studies and eco -feminists who came at the helm, but not only. Verdict: Rosa Bonheur is a great lady, a big painter, who can help us look better today.

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/Media reports.