Mary Bonner




     Mary Anita Bonner (1887-1935) was born March 31, 1887 on a plantation in Bastrop, Louisiana, the youngest of 3 children. Mary and her family moved to San Antonio, Texas in 1897. Mary and her two older siblings spent summers on an ranch near Uvalde, Texas where Mary observed cowboys at work and committed those images to memory which later became her etchings which are considered her best subjects. In 1901 Mary was a day scholar at the San Antonio Academy and in 1904 became a student at the University of Texas in Austin. Bonner studied with Robert Jenkins Onderdonk in San Antonio and later in northern states under Richard Miller and Bolton Brown. In 1922 she stayed the summer in Woodstock visiting relatives, where she first became interested in print making visiting the Woodstock Art Colony where she first became interested in print making deciding to take up etching. In 1924 she moved to Paris, France and started her print making studies with Edouard Leon, which she remained for numerous years.

     Mary Bonner was known as the Texas Girl-Etcher of Cowboys. Her sparkling ingenuity, humorous originality and sure craftsmanship in cowboy friezes have won recognition that remains entirely her own. In the 1920's, some European critics called her the greatest woman etcher America has yet produced. In 1925 she was admitted with the greatest French etchers in the two Salons de la Society des Artistes Francais. In her first exhibition of the two Salons, she won honorable mention. This was outstanding, as it was the first time an American woman had ever been so honored. In 1929 Bonner won the coveted Ordre des Palmes Academiques and in 1931 received the silver metal at the salon of the Societe des Artistes Francais. Her work was included in many important exhibits including the Luxembourg Museum, British Museum and the New York Public Library.

      During her artistic career Mary traveled from Texas to Europe many times. After 1929 she remained in San Antonio. She was active in San Antonio cultural affairs and continued producing prints and watercolors of Cowboy scenes and local attractions.

      Mary died in 1935 from complications from surgery. 

Since 1988 we have had most
of the etchings created
by the artist






Fine Arts of Texas Inc.
San Antonio, Texas

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