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Percival Leonard Rosseau     
1859 - 1937

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Percival Leonard Rosseau (American, 1859 - 1937)
"Morning" The Setters Banrock Tippet B. and Sam
oil on canvas
26 x 32 inches
Rosseau and dated 1922

Inscribed on verso in pencil in the artist's hand "Morning", Banrock Tippet B. and Sam, Cat. #13

Artist Biography
Excerpt from Animal and Sporting Artists in America by F. Turner Reuter, Jr. © 2008:

Rosseau was born in Pointe Coupée Parish, LA, on 21 September 1859. Rosseau’s family was of French descent and operated a farm, originally based on a land grant from Louis XIV in the Louisiana territory, until the outbreak of the Civil War. During the war, Rosseau’s father and two older brothers were killed; his mother had also died, and the Union General W. T. Sherman laid ruin to the family holdings during the Mississippi campaign. Rosseau and his sister were rescued by a slave and the two were raised by a family friend in Kentucky. Rosseau was educated in a private school and taught to shoot and fish by his guardian. He began working at seventeen, trying his hand at various trades to earn a living for himself and a dowry for his sister. He worked as a cowboy and cattle driver in Texas and along the Chisholm Trail from Mexico to Kansas for six years. The Panhandle of Texas in which he worked cattle was abundant in wild game, especially the Texas panther, or mountain lion, which prompted Rosseau in 1878 to send for hounds from Louisiana of the same French bloodlines originally from Normandy, the Franc Comptoise, that his ancestors had imported at the time of the original land grant. Rosseau developed a pack with these hounds and hunted the panther for a number of years, until he left the area in the early 1880s, at which time he gave approximately thirty couple to various local ranchmen. These hounds were, without a doubt, the first scenting pack hunted in the Southwest.

Next he went to Paris, France, to study art the Académie Julian under the painters Jules Lefebvre, Charles Herrmann-Léon, and Tony Robert-Fleury painting the nude figure, and winning an honorable mention for one of his paintings of this subject in 1900 at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. When his New Orleans import business partner emptied the company accounts and fled in 1898, it was his wife's dowry that enabled the couple to stay in France so that Rosseau could continue his studies. Not having the patience to flatter a portrait sitter, he executed a picture of Diana with two wolfhounds, which met with critical acclaim in 1903. Rosseau’s next exhibit was in 1904 at the Paris Salon, showing a painting of two setters which sold immediately. He exhibited again at the Salon in 1906 a life-size composition done from memory showing his own pack of fifteen and a half couple killing a panther in Texas, which won a third-class medal and launched his commercial career as a sporting and animal artist. Although he remained in France until 1915, Rosseau made numerous trips to the United States to exhibit and to fulfill orders for commissions, including his 1913 portrait of a pack of foxhounds belonging to Joseph B. Thomas, M.F.H, in full cry across Percy Rockefeller’s Overhills plantation in Fayetteville, NC. When he was compelled by the onset of the First World War to return to the United States permanently, he settled in Lyme, CT, and took part in the Old Lyme artists’ colony. He also spent time at the Southern estates and hunting grounds of his wealthy patrons, where he took part in upland game pursuits and executed commissions for them. Rosseau was a member of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia...etc.

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Rosseau died in Fayetteville, NC, on 29 November 1937.