The National Museum of Wildlife Art (NMWA) will open Bonheur & Beyond: Celebrating Women in Wildlife Art on June 4, 2022. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Rosa Bonheur’s birth and the 35th anniversary of the Museum—the exhibition will celebrate both important milestones by examining the trajectory of women in wildlife art from Rosa Bonheur to the present day. The exhibition will be on view through August 16, 2022.
Comprised entirely of works from the Museum’s permanent collection, Bonheur & Beyond: Celebrating Women in Wildlife Art includes over fifty pieces by more than forty artists. The exhibition’s namesake, Rosa Bonheur, enjoyed great critical acclaim and recognition during her lifetime (1822-1899), but she is an anomaly. Throughout history, women artists (especially wildlife artists) have been underrepresented. Moreover, the canon of art history has often overlooked even those women artists who achieved success in their lifetimes, and they have largely been omitted from the discourse.
“It wasn’t really until the latter half of the 20th century that women artists started being seriously recognized, but even then, they were still separated from their male contemporaries—recognized as ‘women artists’ rather than ‘artists,’” says Dr. Tammi Hanawalt, the Museum’s Curator of Art and the curator of Bonheur & Beyond: Celebrating Women in Wildlife Art. “Their work stands out in its own right.”
The goal of this exhibit is to bring awareness to the excellence and importance of female artists with work in the Museum’s permanent collection. “We want to recognize women artists as artists and show that their work is valued,” Hanawalt says. “The works in this exhibit are remarkable and are significant contributions in art history. And they all happen to be done by women.”
In addition to the six works by Rosa Bonheur, the exhibition will also include pieces by Georgia O’Keeffe, Anna Hyatt Huntington, Harriet Whitney Frishmuth, Pablita Velarde, Kathryn Mapes Turner, and many more.
This exhibition is made possible through the generous sponsorship of Lisa Carlin, In Honor of the Kantor Family Women, McCrea Foundation, McGee Foundation, Pam Niner, Peggy Schneider Rose Endowment Fund, Ellen and Peter Safir, Caroline and Ken Taylor, and Marcia and Mike Taylor.