Monday, September 3, 2012

Rosa Bonheur

Many thanks to all of you who responded to my FB query about who knew The Horse Fair in their youth ... the answer being, almost no one.  Which is interesting - and raises a whole lot of other questions about what one did grow up knowing ... in my case, the first work of nameable High Art that I came across on a regular basis was a large engraving of David Wilkie's The Blind Fiddler belong to one of our neighbors in Cumberland.  Which is not to say that my parents didn't have some prints and drawings - increasingly so - but the Wilkie - perhaps because it was large - seemed mysterious in a way that, say, some Bartolozzi-engraved cherubs didn't.  I'm trying to bring myself up to speed on the ways in which Bonheur - not just the painting, but the whole cult around her - was or was not translatable/portable across countries, and keep getting side-tracked by questions like - why did Will Rogers claim to have seen The Horse Fair at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, when it wasn't shown there?  

Walter Gomez, of course, is no help - but sits on my desk in solidarity with the huge menagerie of all kinds of animals that RB kept in her little chateau at By.

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