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  • Writer's pictureLelia

Rousseau: A Sunday Painter

A visit to the thrift store today resulted in me now owning this treasure of a book on painter Henri Rousseau, who personifies perseverance in pursuit of a dream.

"As an autodidact, Rousseau found his own way into painting. In 1886 while still working as a minor excise officer for the city of Paris, he began to exhibit annually in the Salon des Indépendants, and by the middle of the next decade - despite widespread critical scorn and ridicule - was known and admired by many of the major vanguard artists of his time."

A decade of effort sprinkled with scorn and ridicule sounds like a slog. But apparently Rousseau was fueled by passion. Says Gustave Coquiot, Rousseau "worshiped only Painting, lived for it alone."

How would it feel to let your passion fuel you? Where might it lead? What would you be willing to tolerate?

** The title is from a quotation about Rousseau: "He had been a Sunday painter who lived only for his Sundays. By retiring, he had secured his dream: Sunday all week long." Roger Shattuck, "Object Lesson for Modern Art." Henri Rousseau.

Source: Henri Rousseau, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. 1984.

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