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Anna Klumpke

Anna Klumpke
Portrait of a Seated Woman, oil on canvas; 36" by 28.5" (image)
44" by 36.5"s (with frame), signed lower left and dated 1886.
Anna Elizabeth Klumpke was born in San Francisco in 1856, the eldest of eight children born to German parents. A series of childhood injuries left Anna permanently lame. When her parents divorced, Anna moved with her mother and sisters to Germany and then subsequently to Paris. She entered the Académie Julian in 1883 and studied with Jules-Joseph Lefebvre and Tony Robert-Fleury. For Anna, success was immediate: she first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1884, and she won the prize for outstanding student of the year. She continued to exhibit in both Paris and the United States.

Klumpke maintained a life-long fascination with the French animalier Rosa Bonheur, whom she first met in 1889. The two artists became lovers and kept up a lively correspondence even during Anna’s years in Boston. When she returned to France in 1898, she moved into a chateau with Bonheur, which she inherited upon Bonheur’s death in 1889 and where she continued to live until late in her life. Klumpke returned to San Francisco near the end of her life and published her memoirs in 1940. She died in 1942.

Although she also painted genre scenes, the artist is known primarily for her portraits in an academic style. Her portrait of Elizabeth Cady Stanton hangs today in the National Portrait Gallery in Washiington, D.C., and her portrait of Rosa Bonheur in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Anna Klumpke’s work can also be found in the Pennsylvania Academy, the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, and the Musée National du Chateau de Fontainebleau.


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