SIX CHILDREN DIED / ONLY JULIA LIVED PAST AGE 18.
Nine months and six days after they were married, their first child, Henri-Anatole-Clement Rousseau, was born (May 20, 1870). But the child died Jan 17, 1871 during the Siege of Paris in the Franco-Prussian War. Paris was starving during the siege.
July 5, 1872 Five months after Henri’s new job, Clemence was 22. A little girl was born , Antonine-Louise Rousseau. The little girl did not survive childhood.
Jan. 27, 1874 A little more than a year and a half after the birth of her second child, another little girl, Julia-Clemence Rousseau, brought joy and hope into the Rousseau family. Sadly, this little girl died in less than a month.
June 11, 1876 Seven days after her 26th birthday, Clemence gave birth to child #4, Julia Rousseau. Julia was their only child who would live to be an adult. I think we can understand that the young parents were becoming more concerned about the health of their young children. They took baby Julia to a “wet-nurse” in Malakoff to get some fresh country air. (At that time, perhaps half of French mothers took their baby to a “wet-nurse” instead of nursing the baby themselves.) Also Clemence caught a cold and was having symptons of tuberculosis (or “consumption”, as it was called at that time).April 27, 1879, Clemence was almost 29, she gave birth to child #5, Henri-Anatole Rousseau. They also took baby Henri to the “wet-nurse’ in Malakoff. It seems to have been a good idea, because Julia and young Henri were the only children to survive their childhood, although young Henri died of tuberculosis at age 18.
September 2, 1882 Clemence is 32, another child is born (of whom I have no further information.) In a 1907 letter, Henri Rousseau said that “we had 7 children, we lost 6.”
A JEALOUS HUSBAND: Their daughter, Julia, remembered, even later in her life, how her father was quite possessive or jealous of her mother. If some man along the way took a little too much notice of Henri’s attractive wife, he would become angry at Clemence and lecture her in a spiteful way. One evening at dinnertime little Julia was scared because of her father’s heated arguments. Clemence quietly tried to divert the young girl’s attention by whispering that she should “count the little flowers painted around the edge of her plate.” But Henri, suspicious about the whispering, became even more aggravated.
I have read about one other conflict in their marriage (although I am sure they had other disagreements.) Henri believed in God, but he at some point turned against organized religion. Clemence still maintained her faith, and she and the children went to catechism secretly.
I cannot remember reading anything negative or bad about Clemence. She seemed to have been a woman of good character and a faithful wife.
NEXT: Part 8 | Paris Customs Office (The Douanier) | Painting on the Job GO TO PART 8
1. The Story of a Man determined to be one of the Greatest Painters in France GO TO PART 1
2. Born in FRANCE|Kings & Castles|Revolution|Napoleon|Victor Hugo GO TO PART 2
3. Henri Rousseau | His Family and Childhood GO TO PART 3
4. Henri Rousseau | SOLDIER BOY GO TO PART 4
6: Henri Rousseau | Sunday Painter | Love and Life in Paris GO TO PART 6
9. Henri Rousseau | 1884 – not good enough | The French Art Salons GO TO PART 9
10. Henri Rousseau | 1885 Debut | 1886 A Carnival Evening GO TO CHAPTER 10
11. Henri Rousseau | Adieu, Mon Cher Amour. GO TO PART 11
12. Henri Rousseau | 1889 World’s Fair GO TO PART 12
13. Henri Rousseau | 1891 | Surprised! GO TO PART 13
14. Henri Rousseau | Looking for Love in Paris | 1893 | Moving to Montparnasse GO TO PART 14
15. Henri Rousseau | full-time painter | “War” in 1894 | Julia: “Au revoir, papa” GO TO PART 15
16. Henri Rousseau | Ambroise Vollard – the art dealer GO TO PART 16
17. Henri Rousseau | Alfred Jarry | More on “War”| Paul Gauguin GO to PART 17
18. Henri Rousseau | 1895 Paintings |short Autobiography GO TO PART 18