Inspired by Imagination and Dreams – Rousseau

Henry Rousseau did not start out life with the intention of being a painter. In fact, his only ambition was to get his family out of debt and on the path of prosperity. He was born in the 1800’s to a plumber. In his early life he worked as a lawyers assistant and then found a job with the government where he remained for many years. It wasn’t until he was in his forties that he took up painting and at 49 he retired from his job to take up painting full time.

He had no formal art schooling but did get some consultation from Felix Auguste Clement and Jean Leon Gerome. Most of his paintings are inspired by fantasy and dreams. His research is done from taxidermified wild animals, illustrated books, and botanical gardens. He once told a famous art critic that he seemed to dream when he went to the botanical gardens and felt like he was in far off lands.

At the time many of his contemporaries thought he painted child like paintings and that he was highly unprofessional. Today he is thought to be one of the influences on Fauvism.

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