Henri Le Douanier Rousseau

French Painter

The most important thing you should know about Henri Rousseau is that he had a completely boring life - with the exception that he became convinced, somewhere along the way, that he was a superbly talented artist. Born to a plumber, little of Henri's young life indicated he was destined for greatness. He attended school (though not art school), enlisted in the military (though he never left France) and got a respectable (though low-level) job, wife or two and nine children, and paid his taxes.

However! Despite the typical, mind-numbing day-to-day grind, Rousseau kept some unfathomable creative spark alive in his mind. Perhaps because of his day job, he'd obtained a permit to copy works at the Louvre by 1884. Though he never took a formal art lesson, he quickly developed a style from which he scarcely deviated until the end of his life. Dismissed by many - for many years - as "primitive" or "unformed" (or, even "uninformed"), his style was, nonetheless, a harbinger of things to come.

Rousseau's work is characterized by heavy dependence on line, stiff (and unrealistic) portraiture, wild juxtapositions and flattened perspective from which the Cubists and Surrealists drew heavily. His imagination plays a major role in his work; Rousseau never personally set foot in a jungle. He did, though, spend considerable time viewing the plants and animals at Paris' Jardin des Plantes. It seems wrong to label his work as "primitive" without acknowledging the sense of wonder behind it.

Important Works:
Myself, Portrait-Landscape, 1890
Sleeping Gypsy, 1897
Portrait of Pierre Loti, 1905-06
The Dream, 1910

Birth: May 21, 1844, Laval, France
Death: September 2, 1910, Paris, France

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A Carnival Evening

A Carnival Evening


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
Medium:Oil Painting on Canvas
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A Corner of the Plateau of Bellevue

A Corner of the Plateau of Bellevue


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
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Apes in the Orange Grove

Apes in the Orange Grove


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
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Avenue de l Observatoire

Avenue de l Observatoire


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
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Boat in a Storm

Boat in a Storm


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
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Bouquet of Flowers 1

Bouquet of Flowers 1


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
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Bouquet of Flowers 2

Bouquet of Flowers 2


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
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Bouquet of Flowers 3

Bouquet of Flowers 3


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
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Bouquet of Flowers with an Ivy Branch

Bouquet of Flowers with an Ivy Branch


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
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Child with Doll

Child with Doll


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
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Child with Puppet

Child with Puppet


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
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Combat of a Tiger and a Buffalo 1

Combat of a Tiger and a Buffalo 1


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
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Combat of a Tiger and a Buffalo 2

Combat of a Tiger and a Buffalo 2


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
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Eve and the Serpent

Eve and the Serpent


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
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Exotic Landscape 1

Exotic Landscape 1


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
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Exotic Landscape 2

Exotic Landscape 2


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
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Family Fishing

Family Fishing


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
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Footbridge at Passy

Footbridge at Passy


Henri Le Douanier Rousseau
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