Annette Ollivary was born in Marseille on December 12, 1926. As a child she spent vacations on her family’s small farm on the Côte-d’Or of Burgundy. Ollivary studied painting in Paris at The Académie Julian.
Many who see her works compare them to the works of Post-Impressionist Naïve master Henri Rousseau, however, the resemblance is only superficial, Ollivary had not seen Rousseau’s works when she began to paint and an attentive study of her canvases reveal that she paints in a manner that is distinctly her own. There is nothing primitive or naïve about Ollivary’s works. Every line and brush stroke is exact, giving a sense of composition, a planned use of color and a solid foundation of design.
Ollivary’s paintings depict a world that is linked to a Golden Age, a lost Garden of Eden. Her forests and fields are filled with creatures of the jungle living together in peace, benign lions and tigers living as the pets of bemused children playing in the forests. All animals, from sheep to birds to dogs, gambol freely around the children without fear of the beasts who ordinarily are enemies. Monkeys swing through the heights of the tropical trees. Flowers of all colors bloom in profusion, bathed in the calm and limpid air. Placid ponds and murmuring brooks of crystalline clearness traverse these enchanted forests. Sometimes Ollivary introduces the ocean in her paintings, but when the sea is depicted, its waves are graceful additions to the harmony of the composition, without any hint of the terror and death that can lie in an ocean storm.