The Horse Fair

Bonheur regularly attended Paris’s horse market where she made countless studies of the animals being exercised. To blend in, and for comfort, she wore trousers, having obtained a 'permission de travestissement' from the local police.

A reduced version of a larger picture, this work was possibly executed with the help of her assistant Nathalie Micas. Probably Bonheur’s best-known composition, it established her reputation both in France and abroad.

Recent conservation treatment has revealed the painting’s original colours and variety of textures.

Key facts

Artist dates
1822 - 1899
Full title
The Horse Fair
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
120 x 254.6 cm
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
Bequeathed by Jacob Bell, 1859
Inventory number
Location in Gallery