By Christine Snyder

This week’s featured artist is Henri Rousseau!  Rousseau was chosen for a back-to-school spotlight because of his whimsical jungle scenes featuring monkeys, tigers, birds and more.  Not only are his paintings a perfect way for young children to be introduced to modern art, but Henri Rousseau was also so inspirational on multiple fronts.  Never being much of a student, he did earn awards for music and art during high school.  Having no formal training, he was a self-taught artist, but did not begin painting seriously until his forties.  At age 49, he retired from a series of government jobs to pursue art full time.  His goal was to become a famous artist, and even after being considered a naive amateur by his contemporaries, he persisted.  His simplistic yet eccentric compositions bordered on surrealism, and they caught the attention of modern, up-and-coming artists such as Picasso and Kandinsky, who were known for being inspired by Rousseau for showing them the possibilities of simpler, less traditional painting styles.  He reportedly never left France, but was inspired to paint his allegorical jungle scenes during his visits to the Paris gardens and zoo.  He claimed nature was his teacher.  I hope you will enjoy these fun and imaginative images as much as my school age children and I do!







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