Originally featured in Points West in Summer 2010
Oil painting, Col. William F. Cody by Rosa Bonheur, 1889
Europeans were completely enamored of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s Wild West show. When it traveled to Paris in 1889, French painter Rosa Bonheur visited the grounds of the show to sketch the exotic American animals and the Indian warriors with their families. Cody, in turn, accepted the invitation of Rosa Bonheur to visit her chateau in Fontainebleau where she painted this portrait.
For Rosa Bonheur, the great showman embodied the freedom and independence of the United States.
Bonheur’s painting was part of the opening exhibition of the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, now the Whitney Western Art Museum, in April 1959.
Rosa Bonheur (1822 – 1899). Col. William F. Cody, 1889. Oil on canvas, 18.5 x 15.25 inches. Given in Memory of William R. Coe and Mai Rogers Coe. 8.66