London: E. Gambart & Co., 1863. Print. A large etching & engraving of Bonheur's best known painting, issued 10 years after the huge paintings exhibition in Paris in 1853. "This, Bonheur's best-known painting, shows the horse market held in Paris on the tree-lined Boulevard de l'Hopital, near the asylum of Salpetriere, 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."*
The artwork was further popularized via the sale of prints. "In 1840, Belgian-born Ernest Gambart arrived in London as an agent of the French print publisher Goupil, and quickly struck out on his own as a print publisher and seller. He soon began purchasing paintings and mounting occasional art exhibitions, and by the mid-1850s he had established the French Gallery at 120/121 Pall Mall as a full-time space devoted to the exhibition and sale of contemporary art.2 The Gallery was one of the first and most successful commercial galleries of contemporary art in London, and its emergence paralleled a larger transformation of the art market. " **
Bonheur routinely wore masculine clothes at home and in the country. The Horse Fair is printed as Plate 18 in Greer's book The Obstacle Race, in which she writes: "There was nothing titillating about the full trousers and painters' smocks that Bonheur wore", and quotes the artist herself as saying: "I am a painter. I have earned my living honestly. My private life is nobody's concern." (Wikipedia).
The first engraving of the work was made by Jules Jacques Veyrassat during the Paris Salon of 1853, in a small version approx. 9 x 12". (held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1985-52-32835). In 1853, an engraving designed by Thomas Landseer and based on an earlier, watercolor version of the masterpiece took off. Landseer's engraving was based on a half-size replica, 48 in × 100 in, c.1855, by Bonheur and her partner Nathalie Micas.
The British Museum appears to hold this edition on chine colle. 1886,1206.68 "With the painter's signature reproduced in the image 'Rosa Bonheur'; signed in pencil by the engraver and with publication line in centre top margin "London, Published Feby. 18th, 1863, by E. Gambart & Co. 120 Pall Mall". At bottom left a stamp of the Printsellers' Association."
The original is in the Metropolitan Museum, New York and measures a huge 96 1/4 x 199 1/2 in. A reduced size version in the National Gallery in London.
Etching & engraving; image & text 18 x 32 1/2" on paper 24 5/8 x 40 1/2". The Horse Fair / Painted by Rosa Bonheur / London: Published Feby 18th 1863: By E. Gambart & Co. 120 Pall Mall / Engraved by C. G. Lews / Prited by Mo Queen / (blind stamp) / Paris 19 Rue du Dragon / New York. M. Knoedler & Co.
Scattered light foxing in the top left quadrant and right and left margins. Deacidified and backed on acid free linen.
*The Metropolitan Museum website.
** 19thc-artworldwide.org. Very good condition. Item #27434