KLUMPKE, Anna (1856-1942)
Rosa Bonheur Sa Vie Son Oeuvre
Paris: Ernest Flammarion, 1908. Large quarto. (12 3/8 x 8 5/8 inches). Frontispiece portrait. viii, 445pp. with seven heliogravure plates bound in and more than 200 photographic plates of Bonheur's greatest paintings. Text in French. Inscribed on half-titlepage by the author: "Anna E. Klumpke inscribed in Rosa Bonheur's former studio ... 12 July 1926."
Contemporary black morocco by Gruel, spine in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in gilt in the second, gilt turn-ins, top edges gilt, marbled endpapers. Original wrappers bound in.
First edition of this beautifully-illustrated biography of Rosa Bonheur written and inscribed by her partner, Anna Klumpke.
Anna Klumpke was an American portrait and genre painter best known for her portraits of famous women including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Rosa Bonheur. At the age of 21, Klumpke and her family moved to Paris, and she began studying intermittently at the Académie Julian between 1880 and 1888. She exhibited regularly at the Salon des Artistes Français and won the bronze medal at the 1889 Universal Exhibition. In the 1890s, Bonheur moved to Boston, where she worked as a portraitist and teacher, and established herself as an accomplished artist, exhibiting her work and winning awards, including the Temple Gold Medal at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. As a student, Anna saw "Plowing in the Nivernais" by the French realist painter Rosa Bonheur in a museum and contacted her to request permission to paint a copy of it. As a fellow artist, she greatly admired Bonheur, and the two then wrote letters to each other over a period of ten years until they finally met in 1898, when Anna traveled to France to paint Bonheur's portrait (which today is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art). They then fell in love and lived together until Rosa's death in 1899. Designated as Rosa's sole heir, Klumpke inherited her residence and studio and dedicated herself to promoting Bonheur's legacy, overseeing the sale of her collected work, founding the Rosa Bonheur Prize at the Société des Artistes Français and setting up the Rosa Bonheur Museum at the Fontainebleau Palace. Anna published this biography of Bonheur titled Sa Vie Son Oeuvre (Her Life, Her Work) in 1908. The work is based on Klumpke's own diary and Bonheur's letters, sketches, and other writings. It tells the story of Bonheur's life and their relationship, including how they met and fell in love. Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899) was a French painter and sculptor most notable for her beautiful paintings of animals and was widely considered to be the most famous female painter of the nineteenth century. She exhibited regularly at the Salon from 1841 to 1855 and traveled around Europe to sketch, making trips to London, Scotland, the Pyrenees, and other locations. "The Horse Fair" (1853) is considered to be her masterpiece and most popular work; it was acquired in 1887 by Cornelius Vanderbilt, who donated it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it hangs today. She was also the first woman to be awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour (1865). Her successful career as a woman artist was highly influential in paving the way for other women to become artists at a time when it was very difficult for them to receive an art education, and her openness about her personal life was groundbreaking at a time when gender expression and sexuality were heavily policed.
Freitag 1054; Lucas p. 125; Riggs p. 120.