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Isidore Jules Bonheur

 (1827 - 1901)
Isidore Jules Bonheur was active/lived in France.  Isidore Bonheur is known for animal and figure sculpture-horses, landscape painting.

Isidore Jules Bonheur

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Biography from the Archives of askART

Isidore Jules Bonheur (1827-1901)
Isidore Bonheur was born in Bordeaux, (Gironde), on May 15, 1827 and died in Paris in 1901.  Isidore, the younger brother of Rosa Bonheur, began his studies of painting initially with his father, and subsequently at the Ecole des Beaux Arts.  By 1848, he discontinued animal and landscape painting to concentrate on sculpture.

He debuted at the Paris Salon in 1848, with the painting and plaster group An African Horseman attacked by a Lion.  He enrolled at the Salon des Beaux-Arts in 1849.  Isidore won medals at the Paris Salon in 1865 and 1869, and won the Gold Medal at the Exposition Universelle in 1889. Isidore was awarded the Legion d' Honneur in 1895.

Isidore Bonheur is mainly known for his small bronze groups.  He created the monument of his sister Rosa at the Fountainbleau and sculpted the two stone lions at the steps of the Palais de Justice in Paris.  An acute observer of nature, his sculptures reflect his commitment to the Realist school - with precise detailing of the movements of animals in their natural habitats.  As with his older sister Rosa, he avoided humanizing his animal subjects.  Horses are among his most popular works. Most of Isidore's bronze sculptures were edited, ( cast ), by his brother-in-law's Hippolyte Peyrol foundry.

Sources of biographical and historic information:
Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 1948, E. Benezit
Bronze Sculpture of Les Animaliers, Jane Horswell, 1971; Dr. Dave Welch, art historian, retired Assistant Professor, Northwestern University

Submitted by Dr. Welch.

Biography from Red Fox Fine Art
Isidore Bonheur was born in Bordeaux France, on 15 May 1827. He was the younger brother of the noted animalier painter and sculptor Marie-Rosalie (Rosa) Bonheur. He studied initially with his father, Raymond Bonheur, a drawing instructor; in 1849 he commenced study at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France.

He executed a number of paintings of animal subjects, but soon realized that his talents lay in sculpture. He modeled a variety of animals, including horses, cattle, sheep and dogs; among his best known works is Race Horse and Jockey, which was cast in bronze in several sizes by Hippolyte Peyrol, his brother-in-law and the founder who cast much of his work.  He also modeled larger works, such as two stone lions for the Palais de Justice in Paris. He exhibited regularly at the Paris Salon beginning in 1848 and at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889.

Bonheur died in Paris, France, in 1901.


Forrest, Michael. Art Bronzes. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1988.

Graves, Algernon. The Royal Academy of Arts: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and Their Work, from Its Foundation in 1796 to 1904. London, UK: S. R. Publishers, 1970 (reissue).

Horswell, Jane. Les Animaliers": Reference and Price Guide. Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: The Antique Collectors' Club, 1971.

Kjellberg, Pierre. Bronzes of the 19th Century. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing LTD, 1994.

Mackay, James. The Animaliers-A Collector's Guide to the Animal Sculptors of the 19th & 20th Centuries. Toronto, Canada: Clarke, Irwin & Company, 1973.

Payne, Christopher. Animals in Bronze: Reference and Price Guide. Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: The Antique Collectors' Club, 1986.

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About  Isidore Jules Bonheur

Born:  1827 - Bordeaux, France
Died:   1901 - Paris, France
Known for:  animal and figure sculpture-horses, landscape painting