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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.