Date of Birth: 21/5/1844
A French Post-Impressionist painter, also known as "Le Douanier" (the customs officer) due to his occupation as a tax collector. He created some of the most popular and memorable paintings of the modern era. Born in Laval, France in the Loire Valley into the family of a tinsmith, Rousseau went to work for a lawyer and study law. He did not start painting seriously until his early forties, and by age 49 he retired from his job to work on his art full time. Rousseau is celebrated for his visionary jungle paintings which captivate the viewer with the lushness of their plant and animal life painted with incredible detail and precision. Extraordinarily the artist never saw the tropical scenes he brought so much to life, as he never left France. His exotic jungle paintings are the fantasies of a city dweller, constructed from visits to the zoo and botanical gardens, from postcards, books and from Rousseau's vivid imagination. His unique vision was celebrated by his modernist contemporaries like Pablo Picasso and the surrealists Ren Magritte and Max Ernst, who saw his work as opening up new realms.