So today’s feature is Henri Rousseau, a French Post Impressionist who lived between 1884-1910. Here’s a bit of info about his life pulled from Wikipedia (eep I know..but I’m in a rush this mornin’)
“Henri Rousseau was born in Laval, France in 1844 into the family of a plumber; he was forced to work there as a small boy. He attended Laval High School as a day student and then as a boarder, after his father became a debtor and his parents had to leave the town upon the seizure of their house. He was mediocre in some subjects at the high school but won prizes for drawing and music.
He worked for a lawyer and studied law, but “attempted a small perjury and sought refuge in the army,” serving for four years, starting in 1863. With his father’s death, Rousseau moved to Paris in 1868 to support his widowed mother as a government employee. In 1868, he married Clémence Boitard, his landlord’s 15 year-old daughter, with whom he had six children (only one survived). In 1871, he was appointed as a collector of the octroi of Paris, collecting taxes on goods entering Paris. His wife died in 1888 and he married Josephine Noury in 1898. He started painting seriously in his early forties, and by age 49 he retired from his job to work on his art full-time.
Rousseau claimed he had “no teacher other than nature”,although he admitted he had received “some advice” from two established Academic painters, Félix Auguste Clément and Jean-Léon Gérôme. Essentially he was self-taught and is considered to be a naïve or primitive painter.”
What attracted me to Rousseau’s work?? Well my sister found an excellent book full of his beautiful work and I was intrigued. I’ve seen Rousseau’s work before but I’ve never really taken a good look at it before. I love the lush forests he paints, and how beautiful and alive his creatures look against the tall greens.
Rousseau was inspired by the beauty found in nature. It’s said that he often visited the botanical gardens in Paris, as well he enjoyed looking at botanical books (which is a favourite pastime of my own).
After Rousseau retired in 1893 he supplemented his small pension by playing violin in the streets, and he also worked for a magazine company creating some of their covers. Pablo Picasso, as a young artist was a HUGE fan of Rousseau and simply HAD to meet him. Picasso held a huge banquet in Rousseau’s honour and invited him to the party.
Ok the end! Hope you’v enjoyed these beautiful works. Learn more about Rousseau HERE! And come back on Wednesday…I have some funky new paintings in the works to share.