Henrique César de Araújo Pousão was born in Vila Vicosa on January 1, 1859. Due to his father's profession, he lived in various cities around the country, until beginning his artistic studies in the Academia de Belas-Artes do Porto which he attended between 1872 and 1879. Among his teachers were Tadeu de Almeida Furtado and João António Correia. Silva Porto and Marques de Oliveira, the two state scholars in Paris, should also be considered as having influenced his formative years, either through the academic test-pieces they sent to the Academy during the years of the scholarship between 1873 and 1879, or by direct contact with Marques de Oliveira after his return from Paris, in whose company Pousão painted on sorties outside the country.

In June of 1880 he won the competition for an overseas scholarship in the Landscape class, leaving for Paris in the company of Sousa Pinto in November of the same year. He entered the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris where he was taught by Yvon and Cabanel. He worked intensely to fulfil his academic obligations and accomplished small studies and landscape sketches. After a year he sought permission to transfer to Italy for reasons of health, arriving in Rome in December of 1881, in search of more clement climes. Pousão developed a program of private studies in parallel to his academic studies and joined the Círculo de Artistas in Roman, where drew and pursued his own studies.

In Italy he accomplished a series of notable works that reveal the painters various facets and potential, with great aptitude for experimenting with the new proposed aesthetics. A new stage is marked by his two stays in Capri, between 1882 and 1883, between returning to Rome for shipping remittances to the Academia Portuense as a scholar. During these years, that were to be the last of a brief life, he accomplished exceptional landscapes and a significant number of studies that reveal his particular attention to the plastic values of light and colour.

The illness from which he suffered forced him to return to Portugal at the end of 1883. After the painter's death, his father offered all the works held by the family to the Academia Portuense de Belas-Artes where they were united with his remaining school work. This whole notable group is now preserved by the Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis.