The Old Park at Saint-Cloud, c. 1831-1832
oil on canvas
66.6 x 82.5 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 18904)
Rousseau, a leading figure of the Barbizon school of landscape painting, set an important example for the Impressionist generation. He pioneered an acceptability of French landscape subjects over the heroic Italian motifs of the classical repertoire and developed convincing atmospheric effects through plein air painting. Because of his long struggle with the conservative forces of the Salon jury, he became known as "le grand refusé." The loose handling and bold colouration of "Old Park at Saint-Cloud" blurs the distinction between "étude", or preparatory sketch, and finished work.