Henri Rousseau… Paradise & Jungles

Paris’ Musée d’Orsay tributes legendary French 19th century painter Henri Rousseau with an exhibition “Le Douanier Rousseau, L’Innocence Archaique” placing him in the context of his times (to July 17, 2016).  Rousseau, (1844-1910) famed for his dreamlike atmospheres, enchanted landscapes and jungle scenes, was an important figure in art during the late 19th century and the early days of Modernism. He is still hard to categorize. Was he an inspired self-taught Naif or a harbinger of Modern Art? Maybe both.

The exhibition compares his painting with several of his sources of inspiration,  and paintings by his contemporaries such as Seurat, Delaunay, Kandinsky and Picasso. Divided into thematic sections, the exhibition presents a number of the French painter’s most renowned masterpieces including “The Snake Charmer”  and “Myself” (1889–90), which he wrongly regarded as the first “landscape-portrait” in the history of art, “The Poultry Yard” (1896–98), purchased by Kandinsky and shown at the first Blaue Reiter exhibition in Munich, and “War or The Ride of Discord” (1894) painted with what Rousseau’s admirer Ardengo Soffici described as “childlike innocence.”

Le Douanier Rousseau, L’Innocence Archaique, Musée d’Orsay to July 17, 2016.