Monday, January 30, 2012

Spotlight on Henri Rousseau

Self Portrait Of The Artist With A Lamp
Today, Budding Artists is thrilled to introduce Henri Rousseau. This French Post-Impressionist painter was born May 21st, 1844 in Laval, France. He was the son of a tinsmith and familiar with hard economic times during his early years. After the death of his father in 1868, he moved to Paris and became a government official. His position as tax collector enabled him to support his widowed mother,wife, family of six children and himself, although it left little time for artistic endeavors. In fact, it wasn't until he was in his forties that he turned to painting as a form of expression.

Sleeping Gypsy
So when Rousseau did finally embrace the life of a painter at the turn of the twentieth century, he came to it without any of the formal training that so many of his peers enjoyed at that time.  Hence, while he displayed many of his paintings in the Salon des Independants, he was often the focus of regular criticisms from the artists of the day. There were many that considered his artwork primitive and naive, but that did not prevent him from creating over 100 paintings, as well as influencing a whole new generation of artists.

The Snake Charmer
In fact, Pablo Picasso was said to have come across some of Rousseau's paintings being sold on the street, only to seek out the artist to meet with the genius behind them. Rousseau was also commissioned by artist Robert Delaunay's mother to paint "The Snake Charmer". And it seemed more than chance that his paintings were displayed near Matisse in what has since become known as the first showing of the "Fauves".

Tiger in a Tropical Storm Surprised
Throughout Rousseau's career, jungle scenes often dominated his canvases. This coming Saturday, February 4th Budding Artists will look at these scenes and many others to get a better look at the style and skill of this Post-Impressionistic painter. Through 90 minutes of games, art history and hands on practice, we will be running the next in our Masters Series of Kids Art Workshops at the Western Fair Farmer's Market at 10am and 1pm. Contact us today to book a space for your child to explore this vanguard artist.

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