Rouart, Henri

Impressionism, the partakers of the expositions:

Henri Rouart (1833-1912)

one of the main figures within the impressionist art-movement



Henri Rouart was one of the main figures within the impressionist art-movement:
Rouart was co-founder of the ‘Société Anonyme des Artistes… in 1873, Walther even cals him one of the most important members (R3,p138). He joined in 7 of the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions, which is more often than Monet, Renoir and Sisley. In total he showed 104 works. Only Pissarro (176), Monet (121) and Degas (119) showed more works (see). Probably by his influence Brandon and Levert (his teachers) took part in the first ‘impressionist’ exposition of 1874 (R3,p401) and Levert continued to do so in 1876, 1877 and 1880. Rouart was active organizing the second ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1876 and also was involved in the preparations of the seventh in 1882 and the eight exposition in 1886. As a conclusion, you can say that Henri Rouart was one of the most important artists within the impressionist art-movement (see). But how come than that he is so unknown?
That he was important is confirmed by an article in ‘Le Gaulois’ dated 1880/01/24 in which on a satirical way the death of Monet is pronounced (actually his leaving the ‘impressionist’ expositions for the Salon). Rouart is mentioned as one of the 8 mourners (in total there were 19 partakers at the 1880 exposition and thus more potential mourners) (R22,p155). In the same journal of the 2th of April Rouart is mentioned with only 3 other partakers (R22,p159).


Henri Rouart exhibited at the Salon:
Rouart exhibited in 1868, 69, 70 and 72 at the Salon. In 1873 he was rejected and exhibited at the Salon des Refusés. After that Rouart joined the ‘impressionist’ expositions and didn’t submit anymore to the Salon. This affirms my statement that the Salon des Refusés of 1873 is much more important for the impressionist art-movement, than the one of 1863 who is mostly mentioned. See link for an account and for an impression of his exhibited pictures.


Henri Rouart at the ‘impressionist’ expositions:
Rouart had an important role within the ‘Société Anonyme des Artistes…’ being part of the inaugural committe (R1,p313;R3,p138).
At the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874 Rouart exhibited 11 works, including 3 watercolours and 2 etchings. There were several reviews, but mostly his works are just mentioned of shortly reviewed. Jean Prouvaire (1874/04/20) reviewed ‘The landscapes of M. Rouart are evidence of a serious and methodical observation of nature.’ (R90I,p35;R87,p253).
At the 2nd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1876 Rouart exhibited 10 works, including 2 ink drawings. Rouart was one of the principal organisers (R2,p158). There was just one review, shortly referring to one work (R90II,p44).
At the 3rd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1877 Rouart exhibited 6 works, including 1 work outside the catalogue (=hc). There were just 3 reviews, mostly just mentioning the title or placing a short remark (R90I).
At the 4th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1879 Rouart exhibited 23 works, including 14 drawings, which were partly sepia and partly watercolours. There were just 3 reviews, all quite short. Harvard is a bit more extended on the drawings: ‘the outline drawn in ink is removed with a rare skill, the surfaces are accentuated by sepia highlights or by a few watercolour tones which are very deep, without sparkle, but full of charm.’ (R90I,p223).
At the 5th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1880 Rouart exhibited 12 works, including 8 watercolours made in Venice. 5 of the 7 reviews (shortly) referred to these watercolours. The reviews suggested that Rouart had more resemblance with Guardi, Jacquemar and the English watercolourists, than with Pissarro and Monet and that he had no reforming tendencies. At the official Salon, he would blend in very easily with the respectable mediocrity that constitutes the majority. Silvestre remarked: ‘You might ask what Rouart is doing here.’
At the 6th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1881 Rouart exhibited 15 works, many made in Brittany and the French Riviera. The only review is of Silvester, who shortly mentions one work  (R90I,p365).
In 1882 Rouart did not join the 7th ‘impressionist’ exposition out of solidarity with Degas, who didn’t want to exhibit because Raffaëlli was not welcome. Still Henri and his brother Ernest Rouart paid the rent for the premises (R2,p390;R1,p469;R88;R89). Caillebotte in his letter to Pissarro (1881/01/24) didn’t want to exclude Degas, nor Rouart (nor Tillot) (R102,p276;R1,p449). Rouart had even tried to persuade Degas to separate from Raffaëlli (R1,p464)
At the 8th ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1886 Rouart exhibited 27 works, including 23 watercolours, 11 of them made in Venice. All 6 reviews mentioned his watercolours, but none really describes them. One calls them ‘discoulered’, another that ‘everything is violet all the same’ and another ‘pen-and-ink sketches, enhanced with watercolour’. Fèvre reviewed his works / oil paintings as ‘more subdued, less revolutionary’. (R90I,p427-475). Rouart took part in the discussions about the ‘not submitting to the Salon-rule’ (R2,p423).
So in total Rouart exhibited 104 works, including 34 watercolours, 16 drawings and 2 etchings. Rouart was 1 of 4 partakers who exhibited 7 or 8 times. Rouart was 1 of 6 partakers, who exhibited more than 100 works. Rouart was more or less active in the expositions of 1876, 1882 and 1886. Rouart did lend 5 of the works exhibited from 1874-86. All this makes him one of the most important partakers. Still he never is reviewed extensivily and they don’t find him revolutionary (R90I).
See link for an account and for an impression of his exhibited pictures. For an overview of his own collection and  the works that he did loan to the expositions see.



Henri Rouart at other exhibitions:
After 1886 Rouart almost stopped exhibiting (R92,p24). At the Salon d’Automne Rouart is mentioned among the honorable members from 1905-07, but he never did exhibit (iRx). After his death Durand-Ruel organised a retrospective with 50 works in 1912 (R92,p139;R88), this was his first solo exhibition (aR6). And in December his large art-collection was auctioned (see below). In 1933, 100 years after his birth, there was a centenial exhibition at the Rosenberg Gallery (R92,p139). The preface of the catalogue was written by Paul Valéry (R92,p11-13). In 1951 there was an exposition of Henri Rouart and his son Ernest at the Durand-Ruel galleries (R92,p139). Most of his works stayed within the family possessions and were hardly exhibited (R92,p22). (See also below at the sources. Note: more information will follow.)


Henri Rouart’s family life:
Henri Rouart was born 1833/10/02 (R92,p127;R3,p693;aR3;iR79) at 114, rue Saint Honoré, Paris (R92,p127;aR6). His parents were Alexis-Stanislas Rouart (1800/09/02 – 1875/02/16) and Rosalie Henriette Charpentier (1814/08/13 – 1889/03/02) (iR79). His brother Alexis was born in 1839; he married 1865/09/04 Amélie Marie Lerolle (1845-83), remarried 1887/06/29 and died in 1911 (iR79). Henri Rouart married in 1861 with Hélène Jacob-Desmalter, who was born in 1841 (iR79;iR6). Rey mentions this marriage was 1861/08/06 (R92,p128), a family tree mentions this was 1861/11/04 (iR79). They had 6 children: Hélène (1863-1929). Lucie (1865/11/28-1868/07/28), Alexis (1869/10/07-1921), Eugène (1872/08/22-1936), Ernest (1874/08/24-1942), Louis (1875/10/05-1964) (R92,p128-130+58;iR79;iR6). His father died 1875/02/16, his wife 1886/07/18 (or 28), his mother in 1889/03/02 (iR79 wrongly mentions 1885), his mother-in-law 1896, his brother Alexis-Hubert in 1911 (R92,p127-139;aR6;iR79;iR6). Hélène married in 1885/05/09 with Eugène Marin (1859-99), whom Henri entrusted the management of one of his factories and who died 1899. (Note: Rey sometimes mentions she did marry in 1886; R92,p27+46+66). Alexis married in 1895/04/24 with Valentine Lamour (1875-1940); Alexis first was an advocat later a music publisher; in 1896 Madeleine was born; in 1901 Hélène and in 1906 Paul. Hélène married Jean Rey, probably the parents of Jean-Dominique Rey, the author of books on Rouart and Morisot (R92+R42). Eugène married in 1898/12/24 with Yvonne Lerolle (1877-1944), daughter of the painter Henry; in 1903 Stanislas was born, in 1906 Olivier. Ernest, who became a painter, married 1900/05/31 (or the 29th;iR79) Julie Manet (1878-1966); in 1901 Julien was born, in 1906 Clément, in 1908 (or 1902) Denis (R93;iR79); Julie Manet was the daugther of Berthe Morisot; at the same day Julie her cousin Jeannie Gobillard married Paul Valéry, who wrote in 1933 a preface in the catalogue of the solo exposition (R92,p11-13). Louis married in 1901/02/12 with Christine Lerolle (1879-1941), sister of Yvonne, both portrayed at the piano by Renoir (R31,no97-139); the got 7 children, including Augistion (1907-1997), whose daughter Jean-Marie (born 1943) wrote in 2001 the book ‘Une famille dans l’impressionnisme’ (R92,p141). (R92,p134-139;iR79). Henri Rouart died in Paris 1912/01/02 (R92,p139;aR3;aR6;aR7;iR79; Denvier (incorrectly) mentions he died 1912/04/09, R5,p234). The family grave can be found at the Père Lachaise cemetarry in Paris, division 67; the grave includes the family of his sister-in-law Marie Guillaume (iR6;aR36).


Where did Henri Rouart live, travel and paint?
From 1868 – 1870/04 Rouart lived at 149, Rue Oberkampf, Paris (iR1;R259). In 1869 Henri Rouart bought the site where in 1871 his own house was build at 34, Rue de Lisbonne, Paris (aR6;R92,p129+130;iR1). He often stayed at the family estate in La Queue-en-Brie called the Triangle, on which there were 2 houses  (R92,p60+no24). Since his marriage in 1861 until the death of his mother-in-law in 1896, Rouart also often stayed at the estate of his parents-in-law in Mée, near Melun. Throughout the years Rouart showed 7 works made in Mée / Melun. He didn’t show works made in Paris and none explicitly made in Queue-en-Brie. Henri Rouart also has been mayor of La Queue-en-Brie from 1892 till his death in 1912 (R92,p60+15).
Rouart often travelled in and outside France, which inspired him to paint. As Degas would say ‘Rouart is always on the road’ (R92,p25). He travelled outside France to Egypt (1869), to Amsterdam (1875), Venice (1879+1883), Italy (1861+1883) and Bruges (1888) (R92,p128-139). Maybe his reumatism, 1890 onwards, limited him in his travelling abroad (R92,p38). Rouart exhibited in 1880 eight and in 1886 eleven watercolours made in Venise. In 1879 he showed 6 works made in the neighbourhood of Clermont-Ferrand and 2 from Egypt. In 1880 six from the French Riviera. Throughout the years he showed 15 works made in Brittany, 12 made along the Pyrenees and just 2 made in Normandie. See also the thematical and topographical overview of his paintings.


Henri Rouart was an engineer:
Rouart attended the ‘École polytechnique’ from about 1851-53 (R92,p127;aR3;aR6;aR8;aR9). He became an engineer, mechanic designer and industrialist introducing vapour-compression machines for refrigeration in France (R89,p69;R5,p12+264; aR9;R92,p11), apparatus for transmitting telegrams (R89,p69), thermal machines (R88) and pneumatic cylinders (aR4;aR9;R92,p11+20). His father had a fabric making military uniforms (aR3; aR9). Denvier writes Henri himself made goods for the army (R5,p131). 1860 he started the ‘Société Industrielle Mignon & Rouart’ (aR8). Roe calls him a ‘prosperous new factory owner’ (R4,p99). 


Henri Rouart as a painter:
Rouart started drawing in 1847 and painting in 1860 (aR6;R92,p127+128). He was a pupil of Levert, Véron and Brandon (aR1;R16,p297;R92,p23;R88;R16); probably this is the same Levert that exhibited 4x with the Impressionists. Corot and Millet are also called as his teachers / advisors (R3,p693; R16;R45,p9;R92,p12+24+128;R89;R87;R88). Rouart did apply certain elements of the impressionist painting style (R92,p24+31). In his style he is closer to Corot and the Barbizon painters, than to Monet and Renoir, rendering more details (R92,p16/17). He also outlined the shape of the figures in his landscapes more than for example Monet (R92,p26). Rouart is most of all a painter of trees of the forest edge, a symphony of greens being his preferred colour (R92,p29+30+80). Duret calls the Barbizon painters naturalists, so does he call Rouart (and Calls), not being influenced by Japonism (R142,p31;R92,p24). Note: in his later edition Duret doesn’t explicitely mention Rouart (R7). Rouart often made variations of a same theme (R92,p30+132+no15+17+18+20+21+28+36+37+39). Rouart partly painted en-plein-air (R89,p69;R88;R92,p106). Rouart is far most known as an art-collector and an industrialist. As a painter he stayed (voluntary) in the shadows and became neglected and ignored (R92,p20+22+32;R88). In his letters Rouart rarely referred to his painting, his paintings itself can be seen as his journal (of his travelling) (R92,p30). Rouart hardly did date his works (except for his sketchbook) and his exhibited works are hardly descriped, this makes it hard to find a development in his way of painting (R92,p37;R2,p332).
When we look at the 111 titles of the works he exhibited at the Salon and the ‘impressionist’ expositions (see), most were landscapes and 86 had a (more vague or precise) indication of the location where Rouart painted. He exhibited just 1 portrait, 1 interior and no still life (as far as the scenes can be identified be the title alone). In this sense Rouart seems to be a real landscape painter (including city views and views of monuments like castles). Knowing he is primary an industrialist it looks as if Rouart is an amateur painter, painting nice views during his holidays and weekends (compare R3,p138). But when we look at the pictures that are (probably) made by Rouart we see beside the landscapes and city views, many portraits, nudes and some still lives. In his style of painting there also is a variety. In many pictures the influence of sunlight is clear, some pictures are very colourful, black mostly is absent. In this sense he paints in an impressionist painting style (see). But often his use of colour is more subdues and never become slightly unnatural. For the shadow parts he uses a greyish blue or green, not a more brighter purple or dark blue. Though his brushstroke can be quite lively, he never uses a consequent juxtaposed brushstroke and he often uses his paint more thinly. On the other hand in many of his portraits there is an emphasize on line and in other pictures he uses a lot of browns. This all is not very impressionistic. In some pictures Rouart uses thin paint, which makes the canvas visibel. As Rouart did not sign many pictures, identification is hard. Dating is even harder, because he didn’t date most of his paintings. I hope in the years to come there will appear more and more pictures of Rouart. And I hope all these pictures will receive a proper research. Rouart, being one of the main figures within the impressionist art-movement, deserves this.


Henri Rouart and his unknown model:
Though Henri Rouart mainly exhibited landscapes, he painted many portraits and rendered figures in interiors, gardens and landscapes. There is one model that returns many times. Sometimes suggested to be his daughter Hélène, but her face looks quite different. Typical is also the way how she coiffed her hair, with a bun of hair on top of her head, instead of behind, which is seen more often. This same style of hairdressing is to be seen on a photo made in 1900 (R92,p136), in a painting of Henri Matisse made in 1905 of his wife (R224,no21) and in paintings Cassatt made in 1898, in 1902 and 1910ca  (R44,p125+129+137). Looking on the internet this hairstyle is called the ‘Gibson girl’ and it was current from the 1890s till 1914 (iR3; iR64), the French style being somewhat different than the one in the USA (aR38). This makes the dating more clear of the many pictures Rouart made of the one or more models with this hairstyle. This dating around 1895-1912 is mostly later than indicated by some sources.


Henri Rouart was a close friend of Degas and also was connected to other painters:
Many sources mention a livelong friendship between Henri Rouart and Edgar Degas, which included his brother Alexis (R4,p34;aR3;aR6; aR8;R3,p693;R88). More precise, there had been a friendship between Henri and Degas at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, which Henri attended from 1846-49 (Alexis was 6 years younger, so probably not yet part of this friendship). Then they lost tracks and refound each other during the Franco-Prussian war, where Degas served under Henri Rouart as his commander (R92,p11+15+130;R5,p64;R4,p78;R89;R87;R1,p250). On Fridays Degas used to dine at the Rouarts (R92,p12), just like Levert, Colin and Tillot (R88I,p790). On Tuesdays Degas dined with his brother Alexis Rouart, with whom he shared the love for Japanese prints (R88). There is a fast correspondence known between them (R3,p693;R5,p264;R88). Denvir renders two letters wherein the contacts between Degas and Rouart are mentioned (R5,p208,224). Degas once said that the Rouart family was the only family he had in France (R5,p131;R88). Degas painted him and his family during the years several times (R5,p131+230/1). Denvir calls Rouart a protégé of Degas (R5,p115+125), Roe as a ‘regular buyer’ (R4,p150). (Still in the 1912 catalogue of his collection there are only 13 works of Degas mentioned; aR10).
Rouart and Degas also were befriended with Charles Tillot who joined 6 of the 8 ‘impressionist’ expositions (R92,p16;R3,p693+700;R88). From 1864-67 Rouart often painted with Tillot, Rousseau, Millet and Corot in Barbizon (aR6;R16,p297;R92,p128). In 1866 he paints with Léopold Levert in Bretagne (aR6), also returning the next years (R92,p129); probably this is the same Levert that exhibited 4x with the Impressionists. In September 1875 he paints with Cals in Honfleur (R92,p130;aR6). Rouart in Ciboure also met Colin, of whom he also collected some works (R92,p110). In 1889 Rouart generously supports Monet’s initiative to buy ‘The Olympia’ of Manet to be given to the Louvre (R22,p259;R4,p208;R92,p134;R1,p554;M5). 1893 onwards he regularly visits Madame Brandon in Ballan-Miré (R92,p138), which lies in the middle of France and not in the Pyrenees (aR6). Maybe she is the wife of Édouard Brandon, who also was his teacher.


Henri Rouart was a collector of  art:
Henri Rouart also was a collector of art. He started his collection in 1860 (R92,p128). By buying their works he also supported his impressionist friends (R92,p17). Rouart was one of the buyers at the Hôtel Drouot auction in 1875 (R22,p117;R4,p141;R87). He also bought of art-dealers like Durand-Ruel and Père Martin (R89,p69;R88). After his death (1912/01/02) his art-collection was auctioned the 9-11th of December (R5,p235). In the catalogue were 576 works mentioned and described made by at least 110 artists. Most of them were portraits and landscapes. 284 of them were oil paintings and 297 were drawings, watercolours, etc. Only 70 of them were of the artists that joined the ‘impressionist’ expositions. The largest collections were of Delacroix, Millet, Corot and Daumier. In the catalogue there also are 100 reproductions, 28 were of his impressionist friends. There were at least 8 works exhibited that were not mentioned in the catalogue (=hc), 2 of them by Rouart himself who is not mentioned as artist in the catalogue at all.
Spies writes he had opened his own gallery showing his collection (R16,p297), this was after 1902 (aR6). The 1912 auction was held in his ‘hôtel’ in the Rue de Lisbonne in Paris (R45,p3). For more info about Rouart as a collector see. For the full catalogue with introduction and reproductions see aR10.
In April 1913 there was a second sale containing 143 works / paintings, including works of the Impressionists: 2 of Brandon, 6 of Boudin, 32 of Cals, 19 of Colin, 1 of Lebourg (Vue du port d’Alger), 1 of Lépine (La Butte Montmartre), 1 of Pissarro (La Maison du peintre Piette à Montfoucault), 2 of Vignon (R88I,p791).


Henri Rouart is hardly mentioned in sources:
As I said, there is not much known about Henri Rouart.  Many sources don’t mention Rouart at all (R6; R19; R18). Some sources mentions him several times, but mostly as partaker of the ‘impressionist’ expositions and as friend of Degas, so as a side figure (R5;R4;R3). Many sources don’t render a picture of Rouart or just one (R16;R2). Even Adler in her book on unknown Impressionists, renders just one page on Rouart (R89).
Conclusion: sources about Impressionism don’t give much information about Rouart. Still there are several sources to be consulted. Walther and Denvier mention there was a fast correspondence between Degas and Rouart (R3,p693; R5). What information can we get about Rouart from this correspondence?  The son of Henri, Ernest Rouart, married 1900/05/31 with Julie Manet, the daughter of Berthe Morisot and Eugène Manet (R3,p693; R5,p249+261; aR6). What can we learn from the diary of Julie Manet about Rouart (R5,p261)? I referred above already to the contemporary comments of art-critics. Walther mentions correctly that this talented amateur (landscape) painter, is insignificantly studied (R3,p138). 
Still, in recent years there have been some publications on Rouart in French (aR3). And also there were recent exhibitions. In 2012 the Marmottan in Paris had an exhibition of works of Henri Rouart (R92;aR6;aR21;aR23;M2). The french catalogue by Jean-Dominque Rey is called: ‘Henri Rouart; l’oeuvre peinte’ (R92). In 2014/15 the MBA Nancy organized the exhibition ‘Les Rouarts; de l’impressionnisme au réalisme magique’ (aR22;Mx) with 33 works of Henri Rouart, together with works of his son Ernest (1874-1942) and his grandson Augustin (1907-1997). Dominique Bona made the catalogue. The same (aR25) exhibition was later on in 2015 to be seen in Yerres under the name ‘Les Rouarts à Yerres’ (aR24).
My main source is the catalogue of Rey (2012=R92). My other main sources are the (short) monographs of Walther (2013=R3,p693), Schurr & Cabanne (2008,R9,p636), Spiess (1992=R16,p297), Adhémar (1974=R87,p252), Monneret (1978-81=R88I,p789-792) and also the book of Adler about unknown impressionists (1988=R89,p69). Other sources are Rewald (1973=R1), Moffett (1986=R2), Roe (2006=R4), Denvir (1993=R5+1992=R8), the Salon database (iR1), Benezit (iR69) and xx. For other general references (=R) see.  For other references to internet sites (=iR) see. For other additional references (=aR) see below. See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.


Additional references (=aR):

  1. Base Salons (Rouart)
  2. (only 5 works; this website disappeared)
  3. / Rouart (3 works)
  4. / Rouart
  5. / Rouart (almost no information)
  6. journaldespeintres (Duvaleix; on the 2012 exposition in Marmottan; showing 5 works; with chronology)
  7. La-Queue-en-Brie (page on the former inhabitant and mayor)
  8. (
  9. (
  10. / Arséne Alexandre: La collection Henri Rouart; Goupi & Co, Paris, 1912 (the full catalogue of the auction + introduction + reproductions; =iR19)
  11. ( 12 items; =iR17)
  12. (mostly from the collection of Rouart; =iR15)
  13. (26 works; =iR13)
  14. (3 works; =iR41)
  15. (1 pastel; =iR43)
  16. (4 works; large pictures; =iR11)
  17. (3 works; =iR44)
  18. Blouin (many works; =iR12)
  19. (1 work)
  20. Google-images (several works, but also of his collection and other artists; just partly reliable; links to auction sites etc.; =iR10)
  21. spectacles (12 press photos from the Marmottan exhibition 2012)
  22. culturebox (about expo 2014/15 in MBA Nancy and in Yerres; with two videos)
  23. YouTube1 (TV interview about the Marmottan exhibition 2012)
  24. propriete Caillebotte (info exhibition 2015 in Yerres)
  25. blog Dan Dylan (info and works from the Yerres = MBA Nancy exhibition 2015; makes no distinction between the Rouarts)
  26. ebay (1 work with zoom; iR42)
  27. florilèges (article in french with 4 works of Rouart)
  28. propriete Caillebotte 2 (article + works of the 2015 exhibition)
  29. YouTube 2 (TV interview in french about the Nancy exhibition)
  30. (info on his novel about the Rouarts)
  31. (PDF about the exposition ‘Les ROUART, de l’impressionnisme au réalisme magique’ in Yerres in 2015; =iR307)
  32. (article on the Marmottan exposition in 2012)
  33. (article of Guillemet de Fos on the Marmottan exposition in 2012)
  34. (article in French on the 2012 exposition in the Marmottan)
  35. (article in French on the 2012 exposition in the Marmottan)
  36. (info on his family-in-law)
  37. (Catalogue of the 3rd sale of Rouart his collection at Hôtel Drouot 1913/04/21+22)
  38. (sale of a work by Rouart)
  39. (French Gibson girl hairstyles in 1908)



Recommanded citation: “Henri Rouart, one of the main figures within the ‘impressionist’ art-movement. Last modified 2021/09/25.