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After Rosa Bonheur

After Lion (The Look Out) and Lion at Rest by Rosa Bonheur (2015) is a work about the lion Nero held by painter Rosa Bonheur (1822 – 1899) in her menagerie at her castle in Fountainbleu in France. The work consists of 100 portraits in graphite of Nero drawn from the painting Lion at Rest by Bonheur placed in a larger grid of risograph prints based on another painting by Bonheur Lion (The Look Out) also portraying Nero. The 100 individual pieces can be seen once at the yearly exhibition before it is divided and sent to the members of Sveriges Allmänna Konstförening. Together with the drawings is also a text from the perspective of Nero on the life whitin the menagerie.

After Lion (The Look Out) and Lion at Rest by Rosa Bonheur is an art piece made in 2015 for the yearly exhibition of Sveriges Allmänna Konstförening. The assignment was to do a work that can be split into one hundred individual pieces where every piece continues to be an original.




I am named Nero

I find myself in a courtyard of a large house. An artist lives here. She has built a house of red brick, black crosses and large windows through which she can study us. I feel strong, but the two other lions that are staying here have become sick.

The place I come from had small cages and many bars where people stood in line to watch me. The artist is also watching. The man who left me here has brought back some of the others. Maybe I won’t stay here too long.  People seem to have a strong desire to see me.

I have permission to walk around in the courtyard. Every morning the artist passes by me, going over the courtyard and the lawn until she reaches the wall and the white wooden gate that opens towards the forest. Sometimes she travels in a carriage that has a transparent wall on one side, it is because she wants to be able to paint even though the weather doesn’t permit it. Those days I stay inside the cage.

There is a place by the wall where I can see and smell the forest that she disappears into daily. People pass by every day on the small path that runs between the trees and the wall. They walk closer to the forest when they see me. Now and then the artist comes back with prey. If it is a small animal she gives it to me, but usually she takes it to the brick house.

Behind the house there is a pasture. It is full of sheep. I can smell them, they must be plenty.  The great gate to the road is opened daily. More animals than people pass. The animals are transported on carts, are tied to  donkeys and horses, are imprisoned in wooden boxes.

I think she collects.


When sent to the members of Sveriges Allmänna Konstförening every drawing/print comes in a folder together with Nero’s text and a map where the position of the drawing/print is marked out.