Eva Bonnier was one of Sweden's most prominent female artists in the late nineteenth century. Eva Fredrika Bonnier was born in 1857 in Sweden and died in 1909 in Copenhagen. Bonnier was the daughter of book publisher Albert Bonnier and his wife Betty Rubenson.
Bonnier began her art studies with Arvid Gottfrid Virgin and continued at age 18 under the tutelage of August Malmström. She was admitted to the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm at the age of 21 and then moved to Paris in 1883. The years in Paris came to be her most productive period. She was accepted into the Paris Salon in 1887 and at the 1889 World’s Fair she was awarded an honorable mention for her painting “Music.”
Bonnier returned to Sweden in 1889 and then devoted herself to portrait painting. During this period she was a member of Konstnärsförbundet, an artists’ association, and was involved in the Opponents Movement. Hallmarks of Bonnier’s portraits are her candor and rarely embellished motifs. A memorial exhibition was held in 1961 at which Ulf Linde wrote “In all her paintings one can experience the human who lived, her fragility, dedication and sincerity. This art is the opposite of superficiality, a deep art.”
Bonnier bequeathed SEK 385,000 to the city of Stockholm for “artistic purposes” which today is Eva Bonniers donationsnämnd. The purpose of the foundation is to finance the adornment of public buildings, especially those intended for educational purposes, and the beautification of public spaces in Stockholm with artwork such as sculptures.