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Autobiography

                                   Jeanne Rij Rousseau

                                            About my Work

I was born in France, in the province of Anjou, which is known for its wines. The fragrance of the grapes on the sunny hills of Anjou and the working hands of those who cultivated, tended and picked them, are supposedly the factors that deepened enthusiasm and creativity into my soul.

In my youth I loved to visit museums; I often stayed there long - for hours in front of masterpieces of my famous painters. And even though I am an eclectic to a certain extent, maybe that is why I have a special liking for Clouet’s works and for the wonderful painting “La Sainte Madeleine”, which people assume to have been painted by the creative hand of the same master of “Vierge de la Cathedrale des Moulins”. Not earlier than after twelve years of studies at various academies, at different schools and after a long time of search and research, resulting from my creative powers till then, I decided to organize my first exhibition. Beforehand I had regularly presented some of my works in the “Salon des Independants”, in the “Salon d’Automne” (of which I am a member) annually; and finally, in 1925, I exhibited in the Tuileries for the first time. At the International Exhibition for Decorative Art I was awarded a golden medal.

In Belgium, in Switzerland, in England and in America some of my works were presented, some pieces are privately owned abroad, still others are in various museums in the Provence, and a personally designed tapestry, together with many sketches, is in the Manufacture Nationale de Beauvais.

The most important art critics, who have written about my work, emphasize the logical-constructive structure of my compositions, the bustle, the overflowing, constantly perceptible joy, the gleaming, glowing expressiveness of the colours and that I especially expressed joy in life and the artistic struggles in my large compositions (“The Rower”, “The Fighter”, “The Gentlemen”, “The Tennisplayer” and “The Airman”). “The Reader” was filmed in the “Salon des Independents” and was shown in the “actualites” in all cinemas in Paris.

Guillaume Apollinaire, the most important, but unfortunately early deceased art critic said and wrote that I was a seeker. That is true - but now I am fulfilling.

I paint with passion and am under the spell of my creative powers, not realising the passing hours of the swiftly passing years, which will probably not leave enough time for all the works I would still like to create.

However, how much can I still say about my style of painting: Of course, there is a lot of craftsmanship in the painting and, concerning the artistic inspiration, the inner nature of my way of composing, of lay-out, of saturation, of capturing the texture by tones, lines, proportions and colours, and last but not least, or possibly more important, the sensitively dispersed dedication to the moment, the present, the paintng of intensive, strong contrasts in our modern life which I dream of, I strive for, is what I try to extract from reality - as well as I can.

Paris, February 1929.

 

Elga Kern (Hg.): Führende Frauen Europas. Neue Folge. Ernst Reinhardt Verlag. München/Basel 1930, S.127-129 ( “Major women of Europe. 30 famous women, Rij Rousseau and Colette are standing in for France.)

With a personal dedication of Elga Kern. Heidelberg, November 1929

Translation by K.Dombrowski                                                German Version

                                                                               French Version

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