The Summer Pasture
This is a beautiful sundrenched scene by French artist Auguste Bonheur, oil on canvas, 23 1/2 x 31 1/4 inches, c. 1860, signed, in an ornate period frame. Auguste Bonheur was born into the Bonheur family of animal painters; his father, Raymond Bonheur was an art teacher as well as artist and taught painting to both Auguste and his older sister, the renowned animal painter Rosa Bonheur. The Bonheurs kept a small barnyard with sheep, chickens, and a cow, which they would often portray in their paintings. Auguste especially excelled at landscapes, which he depicted with a bright clarity of light and color, often including the farmyard animals in his scenes. Auguste was quite successful in his own time, he exhibited regularly at the Paris Salon as well as at galleries in London and Leeds. In 1861 Theophlie Gaultier wrote,"Auguste Bonheur has dared - and it is great audacity - to unvarnish nature, to take away the smoke and the dirt, to wash off the bitumen sauce with which art ordinarily covers it, and he has painted it as he sees it. His animals have the soft and satin-like skin of well-to-do animals; his foliage, the bright freshness of plants washed by the rain and dried by the sun."