Isidore Jules Bonheur (Bordeaux, 15 May 1827 – Paris, 10 November 1901), best known as one of the 19th century's most distinguished French animalier sculptors.
Born in Bordeaux, Jules was the third child of Christine Dorotheé Sophie Marquis (1797 - 1833), a musician, and Oscar-Raymond Bonheur (1796 - 1849) (a landscape and portrait painter and an early adherent of Saint-Simonianism, a Christian-socialist sect that promoted the education of women alongside men) and brother of Rosa Bonheur (1822 - 1899). "It is I who first gave modeling and sculpture lessons to my brother Isidore" (Rosa Bonheur).
Bonheur was born in Bordeaux (where his father had been friends with Francisco Goya who was living there in exile) but moved to Paris in 1828 with his mother and brothers and sister, his father having gone ahead of them to establish a residence and income.
He studied painting at first, enrolling in 1849 at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, though he made his debut at the Salon (Paris) in 1848 (a Cavalier nègre attaqué par une lionne, plaster, and a drawing of the same subject) and exhibited regularly until 1899. He won medals in 1959, 1865, 1869, took part in the Exposition Universelle (1855), exhibited in London at the Royal Academy of Arts in the 1870s, where he gained great success with equine figures and groups, and won the coveted Médaille d'Or (gold medal) with a sculpture entitled Cavalier Louis XV at the Exposition Universelle (1889). He won a silver medal at l'Exposition [Historique?] de Madrid in 1892, a gold medal at the Exposition Internationale d'Anvers (1894).