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Rosa Bonheur: The Artist's (Auto)biography

Anna Klumpke

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ISBN 10: 0472108255 / ISBN 13: 9780472108251
Published by University of Michigan Press, 1997
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Rosa Bonheur: The Artist's (Auto)biography

Publisher: University of Michigan Press

Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Good

Edition: First Edition - may be Reissue.

About this title

Synopsis:

Hailed by her contemporaries as the most popular animal-painter, male or female, of the nineteenth century, the French artist Rosa Bonheur (1822-99) lived to see her name become a household word. In a century that did its best to keep women "in their place," Bonheur, like George Sand--to whom she was often compared--defined herself outside of the social and legal codes of her time. To the horror and bewilderment of many, she earned her own money, managed her own property, wore trousers, hunted, smoked, and lived in retreat with female companions in a little chateau near Fountainebleau named The Domain of Perfect Affection.
Rosa Bonheur: The Artist's (Auto)Biography brings this extraordinary woman to life in a unique blend of biography and autobiography. Coupling her own memories with Bonheur's first-person account, Anna Klumpke, a young American artist who was Bonheur's lover and chosen portraitist, recounts how she came to meet and fall in love with Bonheur. Bonheur's account of her own life story, set nicely within Klumpke's narrative, sheds light on such topics as gender formation, institutional changes in the art world, governmental intervention in the arts, the social and legal regulation of dress codes, and the perceived transgressive nature of female sexual companionship in a repressive society, all with the distinctive flavor of Bonheur's artistic personality.
Gretchen van Slyke's translation provides a rare glimpse into the unconventional life of this famous French painter, and renders accessible for the first time in English this public statement of Bonheur's artistic credo. More importantly, whether judged by her century's standards (or perhaps even our own), it details a story of lesbian love that is bold, unconventional, and courageous.
"The remarkable life of Rosa Bonheur, one of the most highly decorated artists and certainly the best known female artist of her time in nineteenth-century France, is long overdue for further scrutiny." --Therese Dolan, Temple University
Gretchen van Slyke is Associate Professor of French, University of Vermont.

From the Back Cover:

Rosa Bonheur: the Artist's (Auto)-Biography brings this extraordinary woman to life, blending Bonheur's first-person account with the memoirs of Anna Klumpke, a young American artist who was Bonheur's last companion and chosen portraitist. Klumpke recounts their first meeting, her growing affection for the much older Bonheur, and her decision to live with the artist. Bonheur's account of her own life story, set within Klumpke's narrative, sheds light on such currently compelling subjects as gender formation, governmental intervention in the arts, the social and legal regulation of dress codes, and the transgressive nature of same-sex relationships in a repressive society. The story is further enhanced by a range of illustrations depicting Bonheur's life and times, including Klumpke's affectionate portrait of the artist, and a reproduction of Bonheur's special license from the French police to wear men's clothing.

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