Banks of the Oise Henri Rousseau Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Banks of the Oise by Henri Rousseau (1844 to 1910) is a 1905 painted landscape painted in the painter's primitivism art type. The painting was of the River Oise in France, where the artist lived when he did the picture.

The Technique

Banks of the Oise is an oil canvas painting that is painted in the Primitivism method of art. This painting is a landscape of a river and the banks of the river. The painting is a depiction of two boats sailing on a river, seemingly on a calm day. The general colour of the painting makes it look like it is in shadow, especially in the foreground. The foreground is of the river, and it is a brownish colour that makes it seem like it is in the shadow of the trees. The river in the foreground has hints of blue on the water that show the river's water.

The foreground on the viewer's right is of the bank of the river and has some grass depicted in light brown and green and some bushes in an orange-brown. The foreground also has a boat that has some figures in the sailboat in bright orange. The right side of the canvas is of tall trees whose branches are taller than the canvas because they seem to extend beyond the canvas.

In the middle ground at the centre of the river is the second boat, which is dark coloured and has people in it, depicted by figures that are not clear but the outline. The middle ground also has the river looking clearer and is light coloured like the sun's reflection shining on the river. There is also a considerable growth of trees, grasses, and short trees. The plants are thickly grown.

The background is of hills that are on the horizon and above them is a blue sky. Banks of the Oise has a strong graphic quality because the lines of the outlines of the features are bold, which makes the outlines clear. The colours used are soft, which gives a tranquil feeling. He did the painting by applying the colour, one after another, and painted in content layers, where he painted the sky first, then the hills, and finished with the boats and trees in the middle ground, then the foreground, the rivers and other greenery.

The Inspiration

Rousseau is a self-taught artist, and plenty of his work was in primitivism and naive art, a form of the art technique popular with artists who were not formally trained. Rousseau's painting of this depiction of the bank of the River Oise was based on the views he saw. The Banks of the Oise is currently located in the Smith College Museum of Art, located in Northampton in Massachusetts. Those interested in seeing more from this artist should also check out Surprise, Dream and Snake Charmer.