Happy Birthday, Isidore Bonheur!

Posted by Kayla Fletcher on

scan of black and white portrait of Isidore Bonheur

May 15,1827 - November 10,1901


Isidore was born on this day 193 years ago. He is recognized as one of the greatest animaliers in France during the 19th century.

Isidore Jules Bonheur was born in Bordeaux, France and lived most of his life in Paris. His father, Raymond, was a drawing instructor, and he taught Isidore and his sister, Rosa, enlisting their help in his studio. Rosa also went on to become a famous painter and sculptor of animals. Isidore turned from painting to sculpture early in his career and first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1848. His work, mainly consisting of animals, was popular in France and Britain.

Our plaster cast collection possesses copies of two of Isidore’s sculptures, a lion and an écorché of a horse.

 photo of off-white plaster cast sculpture of lion crawling uphill on black background

Lion Crouching #414

This lion is truly menacing. His rear right leg is stretched out, about to take another step.

photo of white plaster cast sculpture of horse ecorche on gray background

 Anatomy of a Horse #603

Bonheur’s écorché of a horse was an astounding accomplishment of the musculature of horses, an animal he often sculpted. (Check out our new photos of this piece!)

If you’re interested in animal sculptures, check out our collection of animals and a blog post from last summer about our casts of felines and canines.

In honor of Isidore, who loved animals, if you have a pet - be it a dog, cat, rabbit, horse, or chicken - enjoy your extra time with them!



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