AUGUSTE FRANCOIS BONHEUR

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Auguste Bonheur was born on September 21, 1824 to Raymond and Sophie Bonheur. His father, Raymond, was a successful artist who received his training in Bordeaux under Pierre Lacour (1778-1859), a pupil of Jacques Louis David, and considered himself a painter of history.

For the first 5 years of his life Auguste, and his family, lived an idyllic life in Bordeaux. In 1829 the family moved to Paris and his father found work in a boarding school and gave private drawing lessons. Work was intermittent and for the first year or so the family moved from apartment to apartment. Raymond was deeply engaged in many of the political movements of the time and after the July revolution he found it almost impossible to find work. By 1833 his mother fell ill and died - leaving Raymond with three children. Life for the family was hard for the next few years and it was not until 1842, when Raymond remarried, that a more stable environment was created.

When Auguste was old enough he entered his father’s atelier and like his older sister Rosa, received his formal training there. Auguste devoted his artistic career to landscape and animal painting and was known to collaborate with his sister on a number of works. Walters & Hutton noted in their book Artists of the Nineteenth Century and Their Work (published in 1894) that:

Like his sister, he paints oxen with remarkable truthfulness, but in her overshadowing fame that of the brother has been lessened, and he has not always received the praise justly his due.

Auguste began to exhibit at the Paris Salon in the early 1840’s, receiving a third class medal in 1852, a second class medal in 1859 and the first class medal in 1861. Auguste was a frequent exhibitor in England as well - showing works in Manchester, Leeds and London; these works included Mountain Landscape with Cattle; Sheep by the Seaside; Landscape with Cattle and Going to Market. He continued to paint and exhibit his work until his death on February 21, 1884.

Today examples of his work can be seen in museums in Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Cardiff, Hamburg

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