Henri Rousseau

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Rousseau, Henri

(äNrē` ro͞osō`), 1844–1910, French primitive painter, b. Laval. He was entirely self-taught, and his work remained consistently naive and imaginative. Rousseau was called Le Douanier [the customs officer] because he held a minor post in the Paris customs service for more than 20 years before he retired to paint (1893). 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; Louvre) and The Dream (1910; Mus. of Modern Art, New York City). With the same approach Rousseau employed in painting the familiar (e.g., Village Street Scene, 1909; Philadelphia Mus. of Art), he painted the haunting and dreamlike Sleeping Gypsy (1897; Mus. of Modern Art, New York City). His fantastic Gypsy sleeps in a nighttime desert, closely observed by a lion—the entire absurdity rendered in a compelling, straightforward manner. The painting thus combines the unique elements of Rousseau's art to their most startling effect. Rousseau exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants from 1886, but did not become well known until the early years of the 20th cent. when he was "taken up" by PicassoPicasso, Pablo
(Pablo Ruiz y Picasso) , 1881–1973, Spanish painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and ceramist, who worked in France. He is generally considered in his technical virtuosity, enormous versatility, and incredible originality and prolificity to have been the
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, ApollinaireApollinaire, Guillaume
, 1880–1918, French poet. He was christened Wilhelm Apollinaris de Kostrowitzky. Apollinaire was a leader in the restless period of technical innovation and experimentation in the arts during the early 20th cent.
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, and other members of the Parisian avant garde.


See R. Shattuck, The Banquet Years (1958, repr. 1968); studies by D. Vallier (1964), D. C. Rich (1946, repr. 1970), G. Adriani (2001), and F. Morris, C. Green, and N. Ireson, ed. (2006).

References in periodicals archive ?
The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau is a story of persistence and resolve and its significance will not be lost on children.
The Imaginary World of Henri Rousseau, National Gallery of Art, www.
Reading Momsieur Uhde's study of Henri Rousseau, the naive painter who, having never studied fine art, executed canvases that would be, and are still, appreciated by connoisseurs, I was not greatly surprised by the production of this original painter, for the artist is no less original than his work.
They learned about Henri Rousseau and his work, and discovered the beauty and importance of the rainforest.
Ask them to select one of the following artists or authors and research how this individual relates to the surrealist movement: Henri Rousseau, Salvador Dali, Giorgio de Chirico, Andre Breton, Guillaume Apollinaire, Jean Cocteau, Max Ernst.
When reproductions such as The Virgin Forest by Henri Rousseau and The Red Balloon by Paul Klee are first presented to the class, they are covered by a sheet of paper that has a circle cut out where the red circle appears in the painting.
The self-taught artist, Henri Rousseau, retired at the age of 40 from working as a customs official and became one of the foremost primitive painters.
NAIF, PRIMITIVE, A SUNDAY PAINTER, childlike, a natural--these are some of the words long used to categorize Henri Rousseau and his work.
In Carnival Evening, Henri Rousseau has combined naturalistic elements in a surprising manner to create a mysterious place that exists only in the imagination.
A musical, historical and art historical discussion accompanies color images of works by Anthony van Dyck, Hieronymus Bosch, Gustav Klimt, Francisco Goya, Marc Chagall, Man Ray, Edouard Manet, Henri Rousseau and others.
This must have been a glorious time in Picasso's life: he moved to Paris, formed friendships with Gertrude Stein, Matisse, Apollinaire, Henri Rousseau, to name only a few.
As final motivation, I had the children compare jungle scenes by Henri Rousseau with the illustrations in Why Mosquitoes Buzz.