Claude Rousseau was destined to become one of the landscape genre’s heroes. Born to a rural mining community in Manitoba in 1939, Claude had fallen for the land, his childhood setting acting as fertile grounds for the seeds of his love for painting such subjects. To the north lay forests, while the southern prairies bookended his immense playground.
The longevity of his career has seen growth in his personal and artistic lives. After an experimental foray into abstract painting, Claude returned to his beloved representational landscapes. This transition arose from the view that a fresh path might be discovered through tradition; taking inspiration from his predecessors, Claude credits Wolf Kahn and Richard Diebenkorn as painters whose styles he has tried to emulate throughout his decades-long career. Their modernist approach to painting the great outdoors gets at the issues of light and whimsy, informing Rousseau’s own dreamlike canvases that evoke meadow memories with a surreal subtlety. His mentor, the renowned Gordon Smith, encouraged him “not to be too tasteful” – words that still confound and push Claude creatively to this day. It was with Smith’s suggestions that Claude switched from the slowly drying oil paint to the much more instantaneous acrylic, allowing Claude to paint unconstrained and with his instinctive imagination driving him. His mind’s eye remains the primary informer to his paintbrush, taking inspiration from his past places of residence.
Claude Rousseau currently resides in Victoria, British Columbia. Retired from his architectural design and presentation career, he paints this land he has learned to understand so well. His works can be found in public and private collections internationally.