1812 - 1867
Rousseau was one of the leading figures in the Barbizon School of landscape painting. His love of nature began when he was a schoolboy sketching trees in the Bois de Boulogne park in Paris. While he never made the requisite trip to Italy, he studied neoclassical landscape painting with Jean-Charles Rémond and was deeply influenced by 17th-century Dutch landscape artists as well as the British artists Richard Parkes Bonington and John Constable. Rousseau made his Paris Salon debut in 1831, but from 1836 to 1841, everything he submitted was refused (perhaps owing to the fact that his nemesis, Jean-Joseph-Xavier Bidauld, sat on the jury), causing him to abstain from submitting from 1842 to 1848. Acknowledgment of his talent came when he finally received the cross of the Legion of Honor in 1852, and a room devoted to his work at the 1855 Exposition Universelle brought him international recognition.
Place of Birth: Paris
Place of Death: Barbizon
Text written and researched by Michelle Bird National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.