Reference Entry

Rousseau, Philippe

in Benezit Dictionary of Artists

ISBN: 9780199773787
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199899913 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/benz/9780199773787.article.B00156949
Rousseau, Philippe

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French, 19th century, male.

Born 22 February 1816, in Paris; died 5 December 1887, in Acquigny.

Painter, watercolourist. Genre scenes, landscapes with figures, animals, farmyard scenes, still-lifes (flowers/fruit).

Philippe Rousseau was the student of Baron Gros and Édouard Bertin. He first exhibited at the Salon of 1834, winning a third-class medal in 1845 and a second-class medal in 1848. He was made a Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur in 1852 and an officer on 20 June 1870.In the early stages of his career, he painted mainly landscapes, especially in Normandy, where he developed his skills. Following these preliminary exercises, he painted mainly still-lifes of various kinds of game, but he also took inspiration from the animal fables of Florian and La Fontaine in vivaciously drawn sketches with a chiaroscuro, quasi-Caravaggian use of light that is astonishing in the 19th century.Success came from 1840 onwards. Vaines nicknamed him 'the Raphael of rabbits' in 1847. In his 'Salon' of 1846, Baudelaire had already noticed him: 'I recently saw, at Durand-Ruel's, some ducks by M. Rousseau that were astoundingly beautiful and had all the duck-like mannerisms and gestures'. Subsequently, success and commissions encouraged him to aim higher. His animal still-lifes, which became more ambitious in a pastiche of the 17th century Dutch painters, lost their original purity, which had at first placed him in the intimist tradition of Chardin. These reservations notwithstanding, he remains one of the group of 19th-century 'minor masters' who give a positive redefinition of the term 'simplistic'.In 1993, the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam showed a collection of his works. In 2002, his work was represented at the exhibition, ...

Reference Entry.  1251 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Painting ; 19th-Century Art

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