rousseau, henri, featured paintings in detail (2)

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  • ROUSSEAU, Henri

    Featured Paintings in Detail

    (2)

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriThe Dream1910Oil on canvas, 204.5 x 298.5 cm Museum of Modern Art, New York City

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriThe Dream (detail)1910Oil on canvas, 204.5 x 298.5 cm Museum of Modern Art, New York City

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriThe Dream (detail)1910Oil on canvas, 204.5 x 298.5 cm Museum of Modern Art, New York City

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriThe Dream (detail)1910Oil on canvas, 204.5 x 298.5 cm Museum of Modern Art, New York City

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriThe Dream (detail)1910Oil on canvas, 204.5 x 298.5 cm Museum of Modern Art, New York City

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriThe Snake Charmer 1907Oil on canvas, 169 189.5 cm Muse d'Orsay, Paris

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriThe Snake Charmer (detail)1907Oil on canvas, 169 189.5 cm Muse d'Orsay, Paris

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriThe Snake Charmer (detail)1907Oil on canvas, 169 189.5 cm Muse d'Orsay, Paris

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriThe Snake Charmer (detail)1907Oil on canvas, 169 189.5 cm Muse d'Orsay, Paris

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriPortrait of Madame M.c. 1897Oil on canvas, 198 x 114 cmMuse d'Orsay, Paris

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriPortrait of Madame M. (detail)c. 1897Oil on canvas, 198 x 114 cmMuse d'Orsay, Paris

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriPortrait of Madame M. (detail)c. 1897Oil on canvas, 198 x 114 cmMuse d'Orsay, Paris

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriPortrait of Madame M. (detail)c. 1897Oil on canvas, 198 x 114 cmMuse d'Orsay, Paris

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriThe Muse Inspiring The Poet1909 Oil on canvas, 146.2 x 96.9 cmKunstmuseum Basel, Basel

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriThe Muse Inspiring The Poet (detail)1909 Oil on canvas, 146.2 x 96.9 cmKunstmuseum Basel, Basel

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriThe Muse Inspiring The Poet (detail)1909 Oil on canvas, 146.2 x 96.9 cmKunstmuseum Basel, Basel

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriThe Muse Inspiring The Poet (detail)1909 Oil on canvas, 146.2 x 96.9 cmKunstmuseum Basel, Basel

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriMyself: Portrait-Landscape1890Oil on canvas, 143 x 110 cmNrodn Galerie, Prague

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriMyself: Portrait-Landscape (detail)1890Oil on canvas, 143 x 110 cmNrodn Galerie, Prague

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriMyself: Portrait-Landscape (detail)1890Oil on canvas, 143 x 110 cmNrodn Galerie, Prague

  • ROUSSEAU, Henri, Featured Paintings in Detail, (2)

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  • ROUSSEAU, HenriThe Dream

    The Dream is an apt title for the present work, with its surreal depiction of a nude woman reclining on a sofa in a forest. The woman is surrounded by colorful, painstakingly depicted greenery - which reportedly included at least twenty-two shades of green - and inhabitants of the jungle, including several wide-eyed lions who gaze at the strange scene or at the viewer. This image of a humorously out-of-place academic-style nude - reminiscent of neoclassical odalisques portrayed by artists such as Ingres and perhaps modeled on a Polish woman Rousseau once loved - in an exotic setting far from the artist's native France may be seen as Rousseau's response to late 19th century French colonialist expansion to lands he experienced only through his visits to museums and visual media like magazines and postcards. With its incredible attention to detail, vibrant palette, and absurdist combination of imagery, The Dream reveals why Rousseau's art was so admired by the Surrealists, especially the movement's founder, Andr Breton, who wrote, "It is with Rousseau that we can speak for the first time of Magic Realism."

    With this piece, Rousseau brought together the exotic and the ordinary, the jungle and the couch, and combined the two to form a juxtaposition of composition which engages and intrigues. It is perhaps fitting that this was his last painting before his death, as it was his masterpiece.

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriThe Snake Charmer

    This painting was commissioned by Robert Delaunay's mother, Berthe, Comtesse de Delaunay. Rousseau supposedly decided on the subject for this painting after hearing her stories about her experiences in India. The mysterious figure of the charmer, surrounded by snakes and hidden in shadow except for a glowing pair of eyes, could almost be mistaken for a member of the wildlife. The odd stillness of the work - characteristic of the mood of Rousseau's paintings as a whole - seems particularly appropriate here, as if the song of the flute held the world in a trance. Various formal elements of the work, such as the asymmetrical composition and use of backlit, bright colors, anticipated the work of the Surrealist Rene Magritte.

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriPortrait of Madame M.

    Complex arrangements of vegetation are often used by Rousseau as part of his pictorial language. The sequence of different leaf and flower patterns produces a rhythmical structure. In this portrait, the tall gaunt woman in a black dress with remarkably wide puff sleeves stands out directly in front of a background of flowers, above which only her head protrudes. The proportions are inconsistent, her hands almost larger than her head. Even more unrealistic is the scale of the head of this nameless woman and the little cat in the foreground on the right. On basis of these characteristics the painter succeeds in creating an impressive representation of the human figure.

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriThe Muse Inspiring The Poet

    The poet, writer and critic Guillaume Apollinaire was an influential figure in early twentieth-century artistic circles. For the last few years of Rousseau's life, Apollinaire was one of his staunchest supporters, and wrote in praise of his work. In 1910, shortly before Rousseau exhibited his last great painting The Dream 1910, he appealed to Apollinaire: 'You will unfold your literary talent and avenge me for all the insults and abuse I have experienced.'

    Rousseau made two versions of this double portrait of Apollinaire with his mistress Marie Laurencin. He grandly titled it The Muse Inspiring the Poet 1909.

  • ROUSSEAU, HenriMyself: Portrait-Landscape

    Here, Rousseau captures the height of greatness to which he aspired as a painter, presenting himself in outsized scale with brush and palette in hand and wearing a suit and traditional artist's beret, before a landscape that features the Eiffel Tower and a tall-masted ship decorated with world flags. Although he completed the portrait in 1890, Rousseau subsequently updated the work with additional autobiographical details: a ribbon of the order of academic distinction, which he added to the lapel in 1901, after becoming a drawing teacher at the Association Philotechnique, and the names of his two wives, Clemence and Josephine, which he later painted on the palette. Rousseau's ambitions to become a noted academic painter are also evoked in the subtitle of this work, which announces a new hybrid genre - the "portrait-landscape." A contemporary critic mocked Rousseau's self-aggrandizing portrayal in this work, writing, "I found it extremely difficult to come to terms with Monsieur Henri Rousseau whom I shall call, if I may, the sensation at the Indpendants. M. Rousseau is bent on renewing the art of painting. The Portrait-Landscape is his own invention and I would advise him to take out a patent on it, as unscrupulous characters are quite capable of using it." Rousseau proudly responded in turn, "I am the inventor of the portrait landscape, as the press has pointed out."

  • ROUSSEAU, Henri

    (Le Douanier)

    French painter Henri Julien Flix Rousseau, called Le Douanier [the customs officer] the epithet his friends later used although he was a tax collector for more than 20 years before he retired to paint (1893). He was an ambitious, self-taught naive painter. Rousseau admired past academic artists like Bouguereau, and took direct inspiration from the Jardin des Plantes, but he was adopted by the leaders of modern art, with Apollinaire often acting as publicist. Rousseau measured Apollinaire for his portrait alongside Marie Laurencin in La Muse inspirant le poete: the resemblance is gauche yet unmistakable.

    Although he claimed to have lived in Mexico in his youth, he later admitted that the claim was false. The only tropical vegetation Rousseau ever saw was in Parisian greenhouses, and his remarkable landscapes had no counterpart in nature. His painted jungles are an organized profusion of carefully defined yet fantastic plants, half-concealing various wild animals with startlingly staring eyes. These scenes are rendered in a vivid, almost hypnotic folk style. The finest ones include The Snake Charmer (1907; Muse du Louvre, Paris) and The Dream (1910; Museum of Modern Art, New York). With the same approach Rousseau employed in painting the familiar (e.g., Village Street Scene, 1909; Philadelphia Museum of Art), he painted the haunting and dreamlike Sleeping Gypsy (1897; Museum of Modern Art, New York).

    Rousseau exhibited at the Salon des Indpendants from 1886, but did not become well known until the early years of the 20th century when he was "taken up" by Picasso, Apollinaire, and other members of the Parisian avant garde. In his honour Picasso organised a banquet in the Bateau-Lavoir in 1908, attended by artists and writers.

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