Collection Spotlight: Rosa Bonheur papers 

The Collection of Rosa Bonheur correspondence, 1808-1961 held in Bywaters Special Collections is a significant record of the artist’s correspondence and writings. 

French painter Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899), acclaimed for her detailed paintings of animals, is considered one of the most well-known female artists of the 19th century. She was awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor in 1865 by French Empress Eugénie. Bonheur had female life companions and was gender non-conforming, often dressing in men’s clothing. This collection consists of primarily of letters by Rosa Bonheur written from 1861 until her death in 1899 to her artist and friend Paul Chardin. Included are letters to Paul Chardin written by Rosa’s brother, Isidore Bonheur and by Jeanne Micas (Nathalie), Rosa’s life companion.

Rosa Bonheur letter

Materials are handwritten in French. 

Please take a look at the detailed finding aid available through Texas Archival Resources Online. 

https://txarchives.org/smu/finding_aids/00094.xml  

Many of the letters have been digitized and are available here: 

https://www.smu.edu/libraries/digitalcollections/rbc  

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