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 Rousseau, Théodore (French painter, 1812-1867) , Paysage au Soleil Couchant

Core Record

Title Paysage au Soleil Couchant
Collection Astley Hall Museum & Art Gallery, Chorley
Artist Rousseau, Théodore (French painter, 1812-1867)
Date Earliest about 1840
Date Latest 1867
Signed yes
Description Théodore Rousseau was considered the leader of the Romantic-Naturalist artists of the French Barbizon school that, in its practice of open air painting, anticipated Impressionism. This is a typically naturalistic evocation of a landscape at twilight. Rousseau often made studies outdoors directly based on the scene before him. A subject such as this apparently casual view of trees and grassland with the gathering clouds above suited both his interest in exploring the natural effects of light and weather in the French countryside, and his technique, which was rough, variable. He often reworked his studies in his Paris studio and the constant over-painting that often occurred has caused some of his works to darken considerably.
Current Accession Number CHOAH:1991:8:2
Inscription front ll 'T.H. Rousseau'
Subject landscape
Measurements 23 x 31 cm (estimate)
Material oil on panel
Acquisition Details Given by L. Hewlett 1991.
Notes Details contained in an envelope addressed to Mr. Hewlett which accompanied the painting: 'Title - Paysage au Soleil Couchant by Theodore Rousseau (1812-1867). Information from H.Terry Engell'. There is a very similar painting by Rousseau entitled Pool on the Edge of a Wood, dated 1860 which is in the Louvre collection, Paris. Rousseau studied at the studio of Joseph Remond (1795-1875) from c.1826. He then studied with the history painter Guillaume Lethiere (1760-1832), but the necessity of elevating the landscape subject by the addition of mythological themes by his master was not the type of landscape that Rousseau wished to paint, following more closely the example of Constable and the unstructured aspects of observed nature. The single significant legacy of Rousseau's academic training was his retention of the distinction between a sketch and a finished painting. Sensier, referring to Rousseau's first exhibited painting Auvergne Site, (exhib. Paris Salon, 1831), described it as a 'composed landscape, because Rousseau did not want to show himself to the public in the rough manner of a study which for him was the preliminary exercise of the work'. However, this method of classical finish and geometric order was not to last. About 1827-8 Rousseau became acquainted with the area around the Forest of Fontainebleau, but his first extensive travel occurred in 1830, when he spent several months in the Auvergne, a region considered particularly rugged and untamed. Rousseau later made many extensive trips throughout France and turned aggressively naturalistic in his choice of subject matter, seeking out the regional character of each area. Another strong reference point for the Barbizon painters was Dutch landscape painting. Together Rousseau and Jean-Francois Millet bought a Jan van Goyen painting and Rousseau eventually owned 50 prints of Dutch paintings. Having been previously successful with his entries to the Paris Salon, everything he submitted between 1836 and 1841 was refused and until the revolution of 1848 he abstained. The Salon jury at that time was traditionalist and disliked Rousseau's non-classical style. Rousseau's reputation has always been inseparable from his position as 'le grand refuse' and as a Romantic rebel escaping urbanization. Because of this anti-establishment attitude he was often linked with Delacroix, for example when an article in L'Artiste, (1834) stated that the jury exclusions had become 'scandalous' even 'monstrous', since they now included such names as Delacroix and Rousseau. After the revolution he showed his works again at the Salon and in 1855 he was given his own room at the Exposition Universalle in Paris, which secured his international reputation. Artist notes from Dorothea K. Beard, 'Rousseau, (Pierre-Etienne-) Theodore, Grove Art Online, Oxford University Press, 1 March 2006, http://www.groveart.com/.
Rights Owner Astley Hall Museum & Art Gallery
Author Lisa Howard



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