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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Théodore Rousseau

ROUSSEAU Théodore [Paris, 1812 ; Barbizon, 1867 ]
BORD DE RIVIERE c. 1849
Oil paint on wood board
H. 27, l. 34.5
Musée du Louvre département des Peintures, Paris


ROUSSEAU Théodore [Paris, 1812 ; Barbizon, 1867 ]
COUCHER DE SOLEIL DANS LA FORET c.1866
Oil on canvas
H. 46, l. 62.5
Musée du Louvre département des Peintures, Paris


ROUSSEAU Théodore [Paris, 1812 ; Barbizon, 1867 ]
CLAIRIERE DANS LA HAUTE FUTAIE ; FORET DE FONTAINEBLEAU, DIT LA CHARRETTE 1863
Oil on canvas
H. 28, l. 53
Musée du Louvre département des Peintures, Paris

The changed attitude to landscape is aptly expressed in the words of Théodore Rousseau, the most controversial representative of the new school of Naturalism:
"Our art can only attain pathos through sincerity."

Rousseau attempted to render nature as he found it, though his melancholic temperament is reflected in the desolate panoramas and gloomy sunsets.

At the same time, his close attention to detail and painstaking accuracy in the delineation of plants and grasses betray the scientific concern shared by many Romantic artists. A similar penetration informed his studies of light.

The works held wide appeal in the American market and to American sensibilitites. The novelist Henry James was an enthusiast of the School and its painters. In "French Pictures in Boston", (1872) PE., 45, James wrote of a painting by Théodore Rousseau:

"It is not an American sunset, with its lucid and untempered splendour of orange and scarlet, but the sinking of a serious old world day, which sings its death-song in a muffled key "