The Horse Fair

Rosa Bonheur (French, Bordeaux 1822–1899 Thomery)

Oil on canvas
96 1/4 x 199 1/2 in. (244.5 x 506.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Cornelius Vanderbilt, 1887
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    This, Bonheur’s best-known painting, shows the horse market held in Paris on the tree-lined Boulevard de l’Hôpital, near the asylum of Salpêtrière, which is visible in the left background. For a year and a half Bonheur sketched there twice a week, dressing as a man to discourage attention. Bonheur was well established as an animal painter when the painting debuted at the Paris Salon of 1853, where it received wide praise. In arriving at the final scheme, the artist drew inspiration from George Stubbs, Théodore Gericault, Eugène Delacroix, and ancient Greek sculpture: she referred to The Horse Fair as her own "Parthenon frieze."

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): Rosa Bonheur 1853.5

  • Provenance

    [Ernest Gambart, London, 1855–57; bought from the artist for Fr 40,000; sold for Fr 30,000 to Wright]; William P. Wright, Weehawken, N.J. (1857–66; sold to Stewart); Alexander T. Stewart, New York (1866–d. 1876); his widow, Cornelia M. Stewart, New York (1876–d. 1886; her estate sale, American Art Association, New York, March 23–28ff., 1887, no. 217, for $53,000 to Samuel P. Avery for Vanderbilt); Cornelius Vanderbilt, New York (1887)

  • Exhibition History

    Paris. Salon. May 15–?, 1853, no. 134 (as "Marché aux chevaux de Paris").

    Ghent. Palais de l'Université. "Exposition nationale et triennale," August 21–?, 1853, no. 29 [see Art-Journal 1853 and Sterling and Salinger 1966].

    Bordeaux. Galerie de la société des amis des arts. "Salon des amis des arts de Bordeaux [5ème exposition]," November 12–?, 1854, no. 78 [see Sterling and Salinger 1966].

    London. Pall Mall Gallery. "Second Annual Exhibition of the French School of Fine Arts," July 17–September 5, 1855, no. 24 [see Klumpke 1908, Sterling and Salinger 1966, Maas 1975].

    Glasgow. location unknown. "French School of Fine Arts," after September 5, 1855–before February 1856, no catalogue? [see Klumpke 1908, Sterling and Salinger 1966, Maas 1975].

    Liverpool. location unknown. "French School of Fine Arts," February 1856, no catalogue? [see Klumpke 1908, Sterling and Salinger 1966, Maas 1975].

    Manchester. Royal Institution. "French School of Fine Arts," April 1–?, 1856, no. 27 [see Klumpke 1908, Sterling and Salinger 1966, Maas 1975].

    Birmingham. Everitt and Hill's Gallery. "French School of Fine Arts," by August 13, 1856, no catalogue? [see Klumpke 1908, Sterling and Salinger 1966, Maas 1975].

    Sheffield. James Gilbert. "French School of Fine Arts," March 15–April 4, 1857, no catalogue? [see Klumpke 1908, Sterling and Salinger 1966, Maas 1975].

    London. German Gallery. August 1857, no catalogue [see Art-Journal 1857 and Maas 1975].

    New York. Williams, Stevens and Williams Gallery. October 2, 1857–January 2, 1858, no catalogue [see New York Times 1857 and Ashton 1981].

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Taste of the Seventies," April 2–September 10, 1946, no. 64.

    Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. "30 Masterpieces: An Exhibition of Paintings from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 4–November 23, 1947, unnumbered cat.

    Iowa City. State University of Iowa, School of Fine Arts. "30 Masterpieces: An Exhibition of Paintings from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 9–March 31, 1948, unnumbered cat.

    Bloomington. Indiana University. "30 Masterpieces: An Exhibition of Paintings from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 18–May 16, 1948, no catalogue.

    Minneapolis Institute of Arts. "The Past Rediscovered: French Painting, 1800–1900," July 3–September 7, 1969, no. 4.

    Bordeaux. Galerie des Beaux-Arts. "Rosa Bonheur (1822–1899)," May 24–August 31, 1997, no. 12.

  • References

    "Art in Continental States." Art-Journal (October 1, 1853), p. 262.

    L[ouis]. Clément de Ris. "Salon de 1853: Lettres à un ami, à Bruxelles. II, Les Paysagistes." L'Artiste, 5e sér., 10 (June 15, 1853), pp. 148–49, compares it unfavorably with Troyon and criticizes its summary treatment; observes the influence of Gericault's lithographs.

    Horsin Déon. Rapport sur le Salon de 1853. Paris, 1853, pp. 12–13.

    Frederic Henriet. Coup d'oeil sur le Salon de 1853. Paris, 1853, p. 18 [see Refs. Sterling and Salinger 1966, Watson 1983].

    Édouard Houssaye. "Gravures du numéro." L'Artiste, 5e sér., 11 (August 15, 1853), p. 32, ill. opp. p. 32 (engraving by Veyrassat).

    Henry de la Madelène. Le Salon de 1853. Paris, 1853, pp. 55–56 [see Ref. Sterling and Salinger 1966], states that it needs varnishing and seems unfinished in parts.

    Claude Vignon. Salon de 1853. Paris, 1853, pp. 115–16, compares it to Gericault.

    "Art in Continental States." Art-Journal (June 1, 1855), p. 193, notes that this work has been sold for Fr 40,000.

    "Minor Topics of the Month." Art-Journal (August 1, 1855), p. 243, calls it "a wonderful work for any painter; but as the production of a female it is marvellous [sic] in conception and execution".

    "Fine-Art Gossip." Athenæum (August 4, 1855), pp. 905–6.

    "French School of the Fine Arts—Mdlle. Rosa Bonheur." Atlas (July 21, 1855) [reprinted in Ref. Lepelle de Bois-Gallais 1857, p. 48].

    Court Journal (July 28, 1855) [reprinted in Ref. Lepelle de Bois-Gallais 1857, pp. 54–55].

    "Art and Artists: Rosa Bonheur." Critic 14 (August 1, 1855), p. 372.

    Daily News (July 26, 1855) [reprinted in Ref. Lepelle de Bois-Gallais 1857, pp. 51–54].

    "Rosa Bonheur's 'Horse Fair at Paris'." Daily News (July 19, 1855) [reprinted in Ref. Lepelle de Bois-Gallais 1857, pp. 45–47].

    "'The Horse Fair' in Paris." Examiner (August 11, 1855) [reprinted in Ref. Lepelle de Bois-Gallais 1857, pp. 59–61].

    Guardian (July 25, 1855) [reprinted in Ref. Lepelle de Bois-Gallais 1857, pp. 50–51].

    "Fine Arts Department." Illustrated London News (July 21, 1855) [reprinted in Ref. Lepelle de Bois-Gallais 1857, pp. 47–48].

    "The Exhibition of French Paintings, Pall Mall." Lady's Newspaper and Pictorial Times (August 11, 1855) [reprinted in Ref. Lepelle de Bois-Gallais 1857, pp. 61–62].

    "Madame de Bonheur's Conversazione." Morning Advertiser (July 23, 1855) [reprinted in Ref. Lepelle de Bois-Gallais 1857, pp. 49–50].

    "French Gallery, Pall Mall." Morning Post (July 18, 1855) [reprinted in Ref. Lepelle de Bois-Gallais 1857, pp. 43–45].

    "Rosa Bonheur's 'Horse Fair'." Observer (August 19, 1855) [reprinted in Ref. Lepelle de Bois-Gallais 1857, pp. 62–64].

    "French Exhibition of Painters, Pall Mall." Press (July 21, 1855) [reprinted in Ref. Lepelle de Bois-Gallais 1857, pp. 48–49].

    "The French Exhibition." Spectator (August 4, 1855) [reprinted in Ref. Lepelle de Bois-Gallais 1857, p. 62].

    "The Horse Fair." Sunday Times (July 29, 1855) [reprinted in Ref. Lepelle de Bois-Gallais 1857, p. 55].

    "French Exhibition." Times (July 18, 1855), p. 11, notes that this work was hung on July 17, 1855 in the Pall Mall Gallery, followed by a reception for the artist; remarks with wonder that "so masculine a work is the production of a feminine hand".

    "Minor Topics of the Month." Art-Journal (April 1, 1856), p. 126, notes that it is presently on exhibit at the Royal Institution, Manchester "under the care of Messrs. Agnew & Son".

    Anatole de la Forge. La Peinture contemporaine en France. Paris, 1856, pp. 334–35, laments its sale to England as a loss for the national art collections.

    "Affairs in France." New York Daily Times (August 16, 1856), p. 2, reports that it was purchased in 1853 "by a Dutchman, who afterwards took it to England, where, it is said, he has realized eighty thousand dollars by its exhibition!".

    "Minor Topics of the Month." Art-Journal (August 1, 1857), p. 262, notes that it is presently exhibited on Bond Street [at the German Gallery] along with the reduced copy painted by Bonheur for Thomas Landseer's use when making the engraving.

    F. Lepelle de Bois-Gallais. Memoir of Mademoiselle Rosa Bonheur. New York, 1857, pp. 34–35, 41–64, reprints British reviews of the painting from its London exhibition in 1855.

    "Rosa Bonheur's Horse Fair." New York Times (October 1, 1857), p. 4, describes this picture's exhibition at the Williams, Stevens, and Williams Gallery, New York, where a mirror was installed over it "at such an angle as to throw out the admirable perspective of the composition with singular force".

    Eugène de Mirecourt. Rosa Bonheur. Paris, 1867, pp. 60–62, notes that the artist spent eighteen months on studies for this picture, during which time she visited the horse fair twice a week, dressed in male attire; states erroneously that the painting was sold to the French government, then retrieved by Bonheur and resold to Gambart.

    M. de Saint-Santin. "J.-R. Brascassat." Gazette des beaux-arts 24 (June 1868), pp. 575–76.

    Cicerone. "Private Galleries: I. Collection of the Estate of Alexander Turney Stewart." Art Amateur 1 (June 1879), p. 6.

    Cicerone. "Private Galleries: Collection of the Estate of Alexander Turney Stewart. II. The Meissoniers." Art Amateur 1 (July 1879), p. 29.

    Cicerone. "Private Galleries: Collection of the Estate of Alexander Turney Stewart. III." Art Amateur (September 1879), p. 74, praises Bonheur's depiction of the horses in this picture compared to Meissonier's in "1807, Friedland" (MMA 87.20.1).

    "The Stewart Art Gallery." Harper's Weekly 23 (May 3, 1879), p. 350, ill. pp. 348–49 (wood engraving of the Stewart gallery, including this picture).

    The Art Treasures of America. reprint, 1977. New York, 1879, vol. 1, pp. 23, 25, 48, 52, ill. (engraving).

    "Gallery and Studio: The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Art Amateur 18 (December 1887), p. 7.

    "The Fine Arts: Recent Gifts to the Metropolitan Museum." Critic (April 16, 1887), p. 193.

    "The Fine Arts: Further Gifts to the Metropolitan Museum." Critic (May 7, 1887), p. 232.

    É[mile]. Durand-Gréville. "La peinture aux États-Unis: les galeries privées (2e et dernier article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 2nd ser., 36 (September 1887), p. 250.

    "The New Pictures at The Metropolitan Museum." Harper's Weekly (May 14, 1887), p. ?.

    Montezuma [Montague Marks]. "My Note Book." Art Amateur 16 (May 1887), p. 122.

    Montezuma [Montague Marks]. "My Note Book." Art Amateur 17 (June 1887), p. 3.

    "For the People to Enjoy: Rosa Bonheur's Great Work in the Art Museum." New York Times (March 27, 1887), p. 9, reports Vanderbilt's gift of this painting to the MMA.

    "Two Great Masterpieces: Meissonier and Bonheur Excite the Bidders." New York Times (March 26, 1887), p. 1, describes its purchase for $53,000 by Samuel P. Avery, acting as an agent for an unknown collector, at the Stewart auction.

    John Oldcastle. "An American Millionaire's Gallery." Art Journal, n.s., (1887), pp. 154–56, ill. (engraving of the Stewart gallery, including this picture).

    Mrs. Schuyler van Rensselaer. "Fine Arts: Gifts to the Metropolitan Museum." Independent 39 (April 21, 1887), p. 6.

    M[ariana]. G[riswold]. van Rensselaer. "Pictures of the Season in New York. III." American Architect and Building News 21 (April 23, 1887), p. 195.

    Mrs. Schuyler van Rensselaer. "The Wolfe Collection at the Metropolitan Museum. I." Independent 39 (November 17, 1887), p. 6.

    Walter Rowlands. "Art Sales in America." Art Journal, n.s., (1887), p. 294, notes that it brought [the American equivalent of] £10,600 at the Stewart sale in 1887.

    Clarence Cook. Art and Artists of Our Time. New York, 1888, vol. 1, pp. 254, 257–58, relates that Bonheur painted a reduced replica of this picture with some changes for Landseer's use in making the engraving, and that this replica was bequeathed by Jacob Bell to the National Gallery; notes that the National Gallery declined Bonheur's offer to replace their version with a second replica which she considered better.

    J.-K. Huysmans. Certains. Paris, 1889, p. 124.

    René Peyrol. Rosa Bonheur: Her Life and Work. London, 1889, pp. 8–10, 25–26, ill. (frontispiece, etching by L. Flameng) [reprinted in Esther Singleton, ed., "Modern Paintings As Seen and Described by Great Writers," New York, 1911, pp. 169–74, ill.], notes that in preparation for this picture, Bonheur visited the horse market dressed as a man to avoid "the inconvenience and unpleasantness to which her costume as a lady would subject her"; states that Napoleon III wished to purchase it at the Salon but Bonheur rejected the offer as too low.

    Cyclopedia of Painters and Paintings. New York, 1892, vol. 1, pp. 177–78.

    Philip Gilbert Hamerton. The Present State of the Fine Arts in France. London, 1892, p. 19.

    John Durand. The Life and Times of A. B. Durand. New York, 1894, p. 193.

    "The Metropolitan Museum of Art—The French Painters." New York Times (May 22, 1895), p. 4.

    Catalogue of the Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1898, pp. 186–87, no. 654.

    "True History of Bonheur's 'Horse Fair'." New York Times (January 1, 1898), p. RBA6, publishes a letter from Gambart to Avery describing his purchase of this picture after Bonheur's offer to sell it to the town of Bordeaux for Fr 12,000 was refused; mentions the two replicas and a small watercolor of the picture.

    "Louvre of Nations." New York Times (September 17, 1898), p. RBA618.

    William Sharp. "The Art Treasures of America (Concluded.)." Living Age, 7th ser., 1 (December 3, 1898), pp. 605–6.

    Arthur Hoeber. The Treasures of The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York. New York, 1899, p. 79.

    L[éon]. Roger-Milès. Rosa Bonheur: Sa vie – son oeuvre. Paris, 1900, pp. 50–53, 56, 59–60, 62, 65, 170, states that Queen Victoria requested a private viewing of this picture at Windsor Castle when it was exhibited in London in 1855; relates that Nathalie Micas executed much of the National Gallery replica because Bonheur had been pressed for time to complete it for the engraver; notes that the second replica [see Notes] was mostly created by Bonheur, with her sister Juliette only preparing the main outlines.

    Masters in Art: Rosa Bonheur 4 (1903), pp. 321–22, 327, 331–33, pl. II.

    Frank Hird. Rosa Bonheur. London, 1904, pp. 25, 27–28, 31, 44, 47, 59, 70–77, 79, 81–83, 86, lists five versions of the picture: our original, the two replicas, the watercolor (private collection, Middlesbrough), and a drawing made after a photograph (then in Gambart's collection).

    John Ruskin. The Works of John Ruskin. 14, London, 1904, p. 173 n. 1, p. 174, criticizes the artist for avoiding the painting of faces in this picture.

    Théodore Guédy. Manuel pratique du collectioneur de tableaux comprenant les principales ventes des XVIII, XIX siècles jusqu'à nos jours... Paris, [1905], p. 20.

    Georges Riat. Gustave Courbet peintre. Paris, 1906, p. 104.

    Anna Klumpke. Rosa Bonheur: Sa vie, son oeuvre. Paris, 1908, pp. 1, 18, 110, 217–32, 243, 267–68, 324, 368, 382, 414, 424, 432, ill. between pp. 226 and 227 [English ed., "Rosa Bonheur: The Artist's (Auto)biography," Ann Arbor, 1997, pp. xi–xii, 5, 13, 69, 147–53, 162, 175–76, 213, 217, 236, 243, 260, 276], adopts the "voice" of the artist to recount the early history of this painting and recalls her inspiration to interpret, not imitate, the Parthenon friezes; relates that after reviewing studies for this picture and "Haymaking" (1855; Musée National du Château, Fontainebleau), the French Minister of Fine Arts commissioned the latter, asserting that Bonheur was not experienced enough in painting horses, but then unsuccessfully attempted to substitute "The Horse Fair" after its critical acclaim in 1853; cites the proposed sale price to the town of Bordeaux as Fr 15,000.

    [François Crastre]. Rosa Bonheur. Paris, [1912], pp. 39–43.

    Muriel Ciolkowska. "Rosa Bonheur's Centenary." International Studio 75 (August 1922), pp. 367, 369–70, ill. p. 371.

    Albert Ten Eyck Gardner. "The Taste of the Seventies." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 4 (April 1946), ill. pp. 196, 199 (installation photos).

    Harry B. Wehle. "Seventy-Five Years Ago." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 4 (April 1946), p. 202.

    Theodore Rousseau Jr. "A Guide to the Picture Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12, part 2 (January 1954), p. 6, ill. p. 49.

    Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. "XIX Century." French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2, New York, 1966, pp. 160–64, ill., note that the Paris horse market was held on the Boulevard de l'Hôpital, near the asylum of Salpêtrière; suggest that the inscribed date indicates that Bonheur retouched the painting in response to criticism of the ground, trees, and sky when it was exhibited at the 1853 Salon.

    Martin Davies with additions and some revisions by Cecil Gould in French School: Early 19th Century, Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, etc. London, 1970, pp. 10–11, under no. 621, notes that the artist obtained a "permission de travestissement" from the police in order to wear male attire when preparing this picture at the horse market; states that Walter Goodall prepared the watercolor copy; mentions several painted studies and drawings besides the five finished versions.

    François Duret-Robert Preface by René Huyghe in L'Impressionnisme. [Paris], 1971, p. 302.

    John Rewald. "Should Hoving Be De-accessioned?" Art in America 61 (January–February 1973), p. 28.

    Carl R. Baldwin The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Impressionist Epoch. [New York], 1974, p. 25.

    Eleanor Tufts. Our Hidden Heritage: Five Centuries of Women Artists. New York, 1974, pp. 148–49, fig. 84.

    Jay E. Cantor. "A Monument of Trade: A. T. Stewart and the Rise of the Millionaire's Mansion in New York." Winterthur Portfolio 10 (1975), p. 188, fig. 22 (installation photo).

    Jeremy Maas. Gambart: Prince of the Victorian Art World. London, 1975, pp. 73–76, 79–80, 92–94, 104, 132, 158–61, 176, 181–82, ill. opp. p. 97, tells of Gambart's dealings with this painting, its exhibition in England, and the replicas and engravings made after it.

    Frederick Baekeland. "Collectors of American Painting, 1813 to 1913." American Art Review 3 (November–December 1976), p. 136.

    Rae Becker in Ann Sutherland Harris and Linda Nochlin. Women Artists: 1550–1950. Exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles, 1976, pp. 11, 224, fig. 32, states that a study of horses by Gericault was in Bonheur's studio when she painted "The Horse Fair".

    Reminiscences of Rosa Bonheur. reprint ed. (1st ed., 1910). New York, 1976, pp. 30, 42, 124–25, 139, 221, 294, 314, 363, 378–85, 387, 404, ill. on title page, publishes recollections of Bonheur written by her contemporaries.

    Denys Sutton in Paris—New York: A Continuing Romance. Exh. cat., Wildenstein. New York, 1977, p. 18, pl. V.

    Donna G. Bachmann and Sherry Piland. Women Artists: An Historical, Contemporary and Feminist Bibliography. Metuchen, N.J., 1978, pp. 150–51, ill.

    Lois Marie Fink. "French Art in the United States, 1850–1870: Three Dealers and Collectors." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 92 (September 1978), pp. 88, 95, fig. 1.

    Fine Eighteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth Century European Paintings and Works of Islamic Interest. Sotheby's, London. April 19, 1978, unpaginated, under no. 163, publishes an unfinished version of our painting, hesitantly attributing it to Bonheur [see Ref. Pancoast 1991]; notes that this version was thought to have been commissioned from the artist by Commander Hill-Lowe of Shropshire, England.

    Paul Spencer-Longhurst. "Art and Artists under the Second Empire." Connoisseur 199 (December 1978), p. 276, fig. 8.

    Hélène Toussaint. Gustave Courbet, 1819–1877. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts. [London], 1978, p. 104 [French ed., 1977, p. 117].

    James Harding. Artistes Pompiers: French Academic Art in the 19th Century. London, 1979, p. 29, erroneously states that Pierpont Morgan bought this picture and gave it to the MMA.

    Alexandra R. Murphy in Corot to Braque: French Paintings from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston, 1979, pp. xvii, xx, xxv.

    Danielle Digne. Rosa Bonheur ou l'insolence: L'Histoire d'une vie, 1822–1899. Paris, 1980, pp. 83, 86, 88, 90–95, 98, 105, 108, 147, 155, 160, 171, pl. 1.

    Gabriel P. Weisberg. The Realist Tradition: French Painting and Drawing 1830–1900. Exh. cat., Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland, 1980, p. 270.

    Dore Ashton and Denise Browne Hare. Rosa Bonheur: A Life and a Legend. New York, 1981, pp. 82–97, 104, 106, 112–14, 135, 140, 144, 155, 159, 177-78, 185-86, 188, 192–94, ill., observe the direct influence of Gericault, particularly his print "Horses Going to a Fair"; agree with Sterling and Salinger's [Ref. 1966] suggestion that Bonheur retouched the ground, trees, and sky in 1855, and then extended the inscription.

    Albert Boime. "The Case of Rosa Bonheur: Why Should a Woman Want to Be More Like a Man?" Art History 4 (December 1981), pp. 397, 405, pl. 29, remarks that preliminary studies reveal that Bonheur focused on the horses and "stuck in the human figures wherever there was space".

    Mary Ann Tighe. "Portrait of an Artist." New York Times (May 24, 1981), p. BR15.

    Albert Boime. "The Second Empire's Official Realism." The European Realist Tradition. Bloomington, 1982, p. 97, notes that the Percheron horses depicted here were a native French breed from Normandy and were "thus identified with a highly conservative region and carried national and patriotic associations," adding that this picture "therefore glorified the Second Empire"; observes that conservative critics embraced it as an alternative to Courbet's realism.

    William R. Johnston. The Nineteenth Century Paintings in the Walters Art Gallery. Baltimore, 1982, p. 87.

    Rosalia Shriver. Rosa Bonheur: With a Checklist of Works in American Collections. Philadelphia, 1982, pp. 29, 31–33, 37, 56, ill. p. 90, notes that in addition to the horse market, Bonheur studied the workhorses at the Paris Omnibus Company; remarks that this picture was the largest executed by any animal painter.

    Richard Alan Watson. "A Study of Rosa Bonheur's The Horse Fair." Master's thesis, Southern Methodist University, 1983, pp. iv, 1–4, 21, 32–33, 35–37, 40–82, 98–101, fig. 1, mentions Gericault's painting "The Start of the Race of the Barberi Horses" (1817; Musée du Louvre, Paris) as a source for this picture; notes that Bonheur's uncompleted "Wheat Threshing in the Camargue" (1864; Musée National de Château de Fontainebleau) was intended as a companion piece; records four replicas: the first by Bonheur and Micas (National Gallery, London), the second begun by Juliette Bonheur (unknown location), the third, measuring 19 x 35 inches (collection Dr. Karl Lowenstein), and the fourth, commissioned by Commander Hill-Lowe (sold Sotheby's, London; now private collection, Baton Rouge); places it in a broader social and artistic context, calling it the artist's "romantic interpretation of the energy and frenzy of the new urban society".

    John Pope-Hennessy. "Roger Fry and The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Oxford, China, and Italy: Writings in Honour of Sir Harold Acton on his Eightieth Birthday. London, 1984, p. 231.

    Carol Troyen. "Innocents Abroad: American Painters at the 1867 Exposition Universelle, Paris." American Art Journal 16 (Autumn 1984), pp. 19–20, fig. 18 (installation photo).

    Maureen C. O'Brien in Maureen C. O'Brien. In Support of Liberty: European Paintings at the 1883 Pedestal Fund Art Loan Exhibition. Exh. cat., Parrish Art Museum. Southampton, N.Y., 1986, pp. 32, 49 n. 18, p. 134, under no. 6.

    John Milner. The Studios of Paris: The Capital of Art in the Late Nineteenth Century. New Haven, 1988, p. 71.

    Anne Henderson and Zoë Urbanek. Rosa Bonheur: Selected Works from American Collections. Exh. cat., Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University. Dallas, 1989, unpaginated, reproduce a quarter-size replica of the picture (collection Mr. and Mrs. Jack Wheeler) as most likely the version painted by Bonheur with her sister, Juliette.

    Walter Liedtke. The Royal Horse and Rider: Painting, Sculpture, and Horsemanship, 1500–1800. New York, 1989, pp. 85, 323, pl. 212 (detail), erroneously refers to the National Gallery replica as the original.

    Whitney Chadwick. Women, Art, and Society. London, 1990, pp. 180–81, colorpl. 93, mentions this picture's critical acclaim in the context of the 19th century animal rights movement and the role of women in Victorian England.

    Anne Distel. Impressionism: The First Collectors. New York, 1990, p. 233.

    Virgilia Heimsath Pancoast. "Bonheur in Baton Rouge." IFARreports 12 (August–September 1991), pp. 2–4, locates the replica sold at Sotheby's in 1978 in a private collection, Baton Rouge, and attributes it to Bonheur.

    Stephen N. Elias. Alexander T. Stewart: The Forgotten Merchant Prince. Westport, Conn., 1992, pp. 154–55, remarks that although the critics "pronounced the work too large for any private gallery" it hung in Stewart's mansion until his death; states erroneously that William Vanderbilt [Cornelius's son] purchased it at the Stewart sale.

    James M. Saslow. "'Disagreeably Hidden': Construction and Constriction of the Lesbian Body in Rosa Bonheur's 'Horse Fair'." The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History. New York, 1992, pp. 187, 189–94, 196–97, 200, 202, figs. 1, 2 (detail and overall), argues that the artist painted a self-portrait in the figure of the central horse tamer in this picture, attempting to "create an androgynous and proto-lesbian visual identity" and circumvent socially prescribed feminine ideals; suggests that the horses represent freedom from the constraint Bonheur experienced as a lesbian.

    Whitney Chadwick. "The Fine Art of Gentling: Horses, Women and Rosa Bonheur in Victorian England." The Body Imaged: The Human Form and Visual Culture Since the Renaissance. Cambridge, 1993, pp. 89–96, 98–100, 107, 196 n. 3, pl. 19, describes how the Victorian interpretation of this picture "as an epic struggle, one in which man's battle to secure control over powerful beasts symbolised a more generalised contest aimed at asserting cultural domination over untamed nature" was complicated by the fact that the artist was a woman; observes that the taming of horses was widely understood as a metaphor for domesticating women's "animal natures".

    Tamar Garb. "Gender and Representation." Modernity and Modernism: French Painting in the Nineteenth Century. New Haven, 1993, pp. 233, 239, pl. 207, discusses it in terms of gender, sexuality, and representation.

    John House. "Exhibition Reviews, New York: The New Nineteenth-Century European Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum." Burlington Magazine 135 (December 1993), p. 856.

    Bethany Tarbell. "Rosa Bonheur's Menagerie." Art & Antiques 15 (November 1993), pp. 60, 63, ill. pp. 58–59 (color detail).

    John Fairley. The Art of the Horse. New York, 1995, pp. 141–42, colorpl. 90.

    19th Century European Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture. Sotheby's, New York. November 1, 1995, unpaginated, under no. 156, mentions it in a discussion of a copy then in a private collection, Tokyo.

    M. Sue Kendall in The Dictionary of Art. 29, New York, 1996, p. 651.

    Heather McPherson in The Dictionary of Art. 4, New York, 1996, p. 318.

    Dominique Cante in Rosa Bonheur (1822–1899). Exh. cat., Galerie des Beaux-Arts. Bordeaux, 1997, pp. 28–29, 158, no. 12, ill.

    "Rosa Bonheur's Remarkable Art and Life is Celebrated in First International Retrospective." Dahesh Muse (Autumn 1997), unpaginated.

    "Bonheur Panels, Gérôme Painting in Major Exhibitions." Dahesh Muse (Winter 1997), unpaginated, announces that the 1997 Bonheur retrospective in Bordeaux marks the first time that this picture was shown with the plaque made after the painting by Bonheur's brother, Isidore, for a monument to the artist in Fontainebleau

    Bernard Denis in Rosa Bonheur (1822–1899). Exh. cat., Galerie des Beaux-Arts. Bordeaux, 1997, p. 150.

    Dominique Dussol in Rosa Bonheur (1822–1899). Exh. cat., Galerie des Beaux-Arts. Bordeaux, 1997, pp. 39–40, 45–47, ill. pp. 52–53 (color).

    Bruno Foucart in Rosa Bonheur (1822–1899). Exh. cat., Galerie des Beaux-Arts. Bordeaux, 1997, pp. 14, 19.

    Evelyne Helbronner in Rosa Bonheur (1822–1899). Exh. cat., Galerie des Beaux-Arts. Bordeaux, 1997, p. 113.

    Elizabeth Martin and Vivian Meyer. Female Gazes: Seventy-Five Women Artists. Toronto, 1997, pp. 36–37, ill. (color).

    Annie-Paule Quinsac in Rosa Bonheur (1822–1899). Exh. cat., Galerie des Beaux-Arts. Bordeaux, 1997, p. 104.

    Francis Ribemont in Rosa Bonheur (1822–1899). Exh. cat., Galerie des Beaux-Arts. Bordeaux, 1997, pp. 9–11, 95, 128, 133, ill. on cover (color).

    Gabriel Weisberg in Rosa Bonheur (1822–1899). Exh. cat., Galerie des Beaux-Arts. Bordeaux, 1997, pp. 56–70, asserts that the critical acceptance and successful marketing of this picture allowed Bonheur to gain independence from government patronage.

    Britta C. Dwyer in Rosa Bonheur: All Nature's Children. Exh. cat., Dahesh Museum. 1998, pp. 66, 68.

    Patricia Mainardi in Courbet: Artiste et promoteur de son oeuvre. Exh. cat., Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne. Paris, 1998, p. 116, fig. 134.

    Cristina Portell in Rosa Bonheur: All Nature's Children. Exh. cat., Dahesh Museum. New York, 1998, pp. 90, 92.

    Annie-Paule Quinsac in Rosa Bonheur: All Nature's Children. Exh. cat., Dahesh Museum. New York, 1998, p. 26.

    Rebecca A. Rabinow. "Catharine Lorillard Wolfe: The First Woman Benefactor of the Metropolitan Museum." Apollo 147 (March 1998), p. 53.

    Gabriel Weisberg in Rosa Bonheur: All Nature's Children. Exh. cat., Dahesh Museum. New York, 1998, pp. viii, xii–xiv, 1–4, 6–18, fig. 1.

    Lionel Lambourne. Victorian Painting. London, 1999, pp. 319–20, states that this picture was sent to Buckingham Palace on September 5, 1855 to be viewed by Queen Victoria, noting that although the Queen did not purchase it "she did command a letter to be sent expressing her admiration" [see Ref. Roger-Milès 1900].

    Jean Strouse. Morgan: American Financier. New York, 1999, p. 273.

    Laurel Lampela. "Daring to Be Different: A Look at Three Lesbian Artists." Art Education 54 (March 2001), p. 48, ill. (overall and detail).

    Hollis Clayson. Paris in Despair: Art and Everyday Life under Siege (1870–71). Chicago, 2002, pp. 285, 294, 298, 445 n. 26, agrees with Saslow's [Ref 1992] assertion that this picture includes a self-portrait.

    Valérie Bajou. Courbet. Paris, 2003, p. 94.

    Louise Lippincott and Andreas Blühm. Fierce Friends: Artists and Animals, 1750–1900. Exh. cat., Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. London, 2005, pp. 108–9, 140.

    Petra ten-Doesschate Chu. Nineteenth-Century European Art. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J., 2006, pp. 288–89, ill. p. 268 and fig. 12-24 (color, detail and overall).

    Neil Harris in The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings. Exh. cat., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, Mass., 2006, p. 221, notes that Sterling Clark enjoyed viewing this picture at the MMA, "proclaiming it 'one of the finest pictures in the museum,' long after the professional staff had recoiled from its presence in horror".

    Ross King. The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism. New York, 2006, pp. 241, 249, 369.

    19th Century European Art. Sotheby's, New York. April 18, 2007, pp. 173–74, under no. 114.

    Masterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. x, xvii, 68–69, 213, no. 63, ill. (overall and detail, color and black and white) and figs. 5, 14 (installation photos, color and black and white).

    Gary Tinterow in The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, p. 9, figs. 5, 14 (installation photos, color and black and white).

    Sylvain Amic in Gustave Courbet. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. New York, 2008, p. 342 [French ed., Paris, 2007].

  • Notes

    There are three autograph painted replicas of this work: the earliest (47 1/4 x 100 1/4 in.), begun 1855 by Nathalie Micas, is in the National Gallery, London; the second (48 x 100 in.), begun by Bonheur's sister Juliette and formerly in the McConnel collection, Derbyshire, is probably the version that was in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Wheeler in 1989 [see Ref. Henderson and Urbanek 1989]; the third (49 1/2 x 105 1/4 in.), sold by Sotheby's, London, April 19, 1978, no. 163, is in a private collection, Baton Rouge. Watson [Ref. 1983] lists a fourth replica (19 x 35 in.) owned by Dr. Karl Lowenstein.

    An autograph watercolor version (24 3/4 x 50 1/8 in.) was sold by Sotheby's, New York on April 18, 2007, lot 114. Watson [Ref. 1983] records another autograph watercolor version (24 x 49 in.) as sold by Knoedler in 1982 and in a private collection. A drawing begun by Bonheur after a photograph of the work was sold by Christie's, London, May 2, 1903, no. 1, to a Mr. Wallis [see Refs. Watson 1983 and Pancoast 1991].

    Numerous oil and pencil studies exist, including one in the MMA (1975.319.2). In addition, several copies and prints have been made after this composition. The earliest engraving, by Veyrassat, was executed while the painting was exhibited in the Salon of 1853. In 1856, Thomas Landseer's engraving, based on the first replica, was widely distributed and contributed to the picture's immense popularity.

  • See also