Henri Schouten was a specialist in animal painting using anatomical detail together with his artistic sense of balance. Schouten loved the rural beauty of Belgium and chose to paint its peoples, animals and landscape. Some reference books note that he was born in Ghent when he was in fact born in Indonesia in 1857 of Dutch parents. Schouten showed early promise as a painter. Encouraged to pursue an artistic vocation, he enrolled at the prestigious Brussels Academy in 1876. Studying under the great animal painter, Alfred Verwee persuaded the young artist to emulate his teacher and devote his life to the painting of animalier subjects.
It appears that Henri Schouten worked mostly on direct commission as he rarely found it necessary to exhibit his work. He did, however, participate in the major exhibition, ‘Union des Arts’ held in Brussels in 1882. An important retrospective exhibition of his paintings was held in The Hague in 1947.