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Head of a Bull

Rosa Bonheur

European Art

Rosa Bonheur’s closely observed animal paintings made her one of the most commercially successful artists in mid-nineteenth-century France. Though not identified with a particular finished oil painting, this watercolor sketch of a bull is typical of the kind of preparatory studies she made directly from nature.

Throughout her lifetime, Bonheur defied norms for women’s behavior. She wore masculine attire and lived with another woman, Nathalie Micas, for forty years, writing, “Had I been a man I would have married her. . . . I would have had a family, with my children as heirs, and nobody would have had any right to complain.”
MEDIUM Watercolor and graphite on cream wove paper
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES n.d.
    DIMENSIONS 4 15/16 x 6 7/8 in. (12.5 x 17.5 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed lower left: "Rosa Bonheur"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE Gift of John Hill Morgan
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Rosa Bonheur (French, 1822–1899). Head of a Bull, n.d. Watercolor and graphite on cream wove paper, 4 15/16 x 6 7/8 in. (12.5 x 17.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of John Hill Morgan, 22.80 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 22.80.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 22.80.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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