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Rosa Bonheur

March 16, 1822 - May 25, 1899


Rosa Bonheur was born into a French family of painters. The family moved to Paris in 1828, where Bonheur grew up. Always rebellious and unruly, traditional education was not suited to her. However, the arts interested her deeply, as did the natural world. At the age of twelve, after a failed apprenticeship, Rosa began working with her artist father, learning more formal artistic techniques. She explored heavily her interest in the natural world through her art, often painting and making sculptures of animals. Her paintings were in a realist style. Bonheur paved the way for female artists and was a true feminist, not conforming to traditional views of what a woman should be. She often wore typically masculine clothing and was openly a lesbian but never spoke about it. In 1865 she was awarded the cross of The Legion of Honor

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