ROUSSEAU, Théodore
(b. 1812, Paris, d. 1867, Barbizon)

Edge of the Forest at Fontainebleau, Setting Sun

c. 1850
Oil on canvas, 142 x 198 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

The tame mode of Théodore Rousseau's landscapes disconcerted both the public and the critics. From 1835 to 1848 his pictures were rejected by the jury of the Salon.

Rousseau painted nature for its own sake, pursuing realism and expressiveness, endowing an otherwise dull landscape with poetic feeling, eschewing anecdotal devices or literary references. After scouring the French countryside, he found ideal spots to paint in the forest of Fontainebleau, near the village of Barbizon, which allowed him to fully express his feelings and emotions. The success at the Salon of 1851 of the Edge of the Forest at Fontainebleau, Setting Sun, a large landscape commissioned by the State, was a token of the official recognition that had been won by the open-air Barbizon painters after 1848.