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ARTISTS WE LOVE: Henri Rousseau

WHO: Henri Rousseau

WHAT: Painter

WHERE: France

WHEN: 21 May 1844 – 2 September 1910

Known as “Le Douanier” (“the custom’s officer“) amongst his peers due to this profession as a toll collector, Henri Rousseau was a self-taught painter who inspired Paris’ avant-guard scene and generations of Surrealists from the end of the 19th century/beginning of the 20th century. His unique style was a direct result of him never having formally studied anatomy or perspective in art; instead he attempted to recreate works of art he saw in museums but incorporate his own interpretation, vivid colors and non-realistic scale which came to be known as the Naïve or Primitive movement. Heavily criticized during his lifetime amongst the more conservative artists who wrote his work off as childlike and flat, he still managed to catch the attention and inspire other greats such as Picasso, Max Jacob and Fernand Léger. Here is a sample of some of his most famous works – or stream the entire “Henri Rousseau” gallery now available in our Classical Art category.

The painting featured at the top of this post is “Banana Harvest”, painted by Rousseau in 1907-1910.

Tropical Forest with Monkeys, Henri Rousseau, 1910


Boy on the Rocks, Henri Rousseau, 1895-1897


The Family, Henri Rousseau, 1890-1900

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