The art of Henri Rousseau: A fascinating mixture of primitive idyll and flight from civilization Henri Rousseau (1844-1910) emerged from humble circumstances - reflected in his nickname, "the customs official." An employee in the Paris customs bureau, Rousseau was an autodidact who incrementally worked his way into a position among the artists who were renewing the art world at the turn of the century.
It was a difficult journey - for years the art world laughed at the layman's flat, icon-like figures, simple landscapes and, in his late phase, exotic jungle scenes. But his "naive" compositions in fact became an emblem that piqued the interest of the avant-garde. Rousseau's jungle paintings consisted of ornamental variations of plant leaves, among which he set brilliantly colored predators, natives and naked beauties. In so doing, the artist evinced intuitive principles of design and compositions, which subsequent avant-garde artists had to work out for themselves with great effort.
Ultimately winning recognition as an uncompromising modernist, Rousseau inspired comparison with Derain, C zanne, Matisse and Gauguin. He became acquainted with Apollinaire, Delaunay, Picabia, Brancusi and other important figures; in 1908, Picasso held a legendary banquet in his honour. Today, "Rousseau's myth," a fascinating mixture of primitive idyll and flight from civilization, of concrete and abstract, holds a secure place in the history of art. About the Series:
Each book in TASCHEN's Basic Art series features:
Poetry of Poverty
Against the Tide
To fete Baby
achieve Alfred Jarry allegory Angers Arsene Alexandre avant-garde beauty becomes Centenary of Independence Cilles Neret cm Moscow cm New York cm Paris cm Private collection colour composition Cubism detail Douanier dream earthly paradise Eiffel Tower exotic figure France Gerome Giorgio de Chirico Guillaume Apollinaire Henri Matisse Henri Rousseau hover idyll imagination Impressionists intuitive Jaguar Jean Walter-Paul Guillaume Josephine jungle picture L'Ymagier landscape Lion Louvre magic Marie Laurencin Max Weber ment motifs Muse inspiring Musec Museum of Art naive nature object Odilon Redon Oil on canvas painter Paris World Exhibition Paul Gauguin Paul Signac peace Picasso Foundation planar poet Pont de Sevres Port Saint-Nicolas Portrait dc Portrait-Landscape primitive Pushkin Museum Quai d'Auteuil reality Robert Delaunay Rous Rousseau painted Salon des Independants scene seau self-portrait Seurat Signac structure studio theme Tiger tion toll service Toll Station trees ture two-dimensional View Walter-Paul Guillaume Collection wife Clemence Wilhelm Uhde