Rosa Bonheur achieved international success during her lifetime as an animal painter.
Following the instruction received from her father, Raymond Bonheur, a landscape painter and drawing professor, she started making animal sketches by the age of ten and continued by drawing her subjects from life. She frequently went to places where she could observe animals: markets, fairs, and slaughterhouses. Indeed, in 1857, with this aim in mind she requested - and received - permission from the prefect of Paris to wear pants, which women were not allowed to do at the time. An independent spirit, Rosa Bonheur pursued a brilliant artistic career, receiving critical acclaim and amassing awards and honors.
Her most famous paintings are undoubtedly Ploughing in the Nivernais (1849; Paris, Musée d’Orsay) and The Horse Fair (1853; New York, Metropolitan Museum).