Dreamlike Exhibition on Douanier Rousseau

exposition douanier rousseau
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A verdant, colourful jungle, lush foliage, fierce fighting… 

These are not the works of an explorer but those of Henri Rousseau (1844-1910), the Douanier (the Authority) that are currently on exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay until 17 July. Rousseau was a self-taught painter, who never travelled outside France and is deemed to owe much of his inspiration to the Plant Garden at the Paris Museum of Natural History.

Often mocked by critics of his time as simply a “Sunday painter”, Douanier Rousseau started painting at the age of 40. However, his unique style featuring solid, vibrant colours and lacking in perspective, was highly appreciated by intellectuals, poets and contemporary painters at the time.

Initially presented in Venice, the exhibition, entitled, The Douanier Rousseau. Archaic Candour, places the artist in his context; showing what inspired him and who his admirers were, including Picasso, Léger, Delaunay and the likes of Guillaume Apollinaire, who even wrote poems for him. All these artists, but also artists of the Italian and German avant-garde, including Kandinsky, no less, not only admired Rousseau’s works, they collected them.

Half of the hundreds of works on display will be shown alongside Rousseau’s works, highlighting the diversity of his sources of inspiration and the influence of his works.

The moving exhibition starts with group portraits or pictures of children, landscapes of Paris and its suburbs, before ending with his most famous works of jungle scenes.

It is, indeed, the dreamlike images of the wild that earned this naïve painter and his characteristic childlike images, success towards the end of his career.

The Dream, one of his most emblematic works, was also the last painted by the artist. The painting features a woman lying naked on a divan, gazing over a landscape of lush jungle foliage, thus juxtaposing real life alongside make-believe. This painting inspired artists such as Paul Delvaux and Max Ernst for his painting, Jardin peuplé de chimères.

Don’t miss this exhibition event. Be inspired by the naïve nature of these exotic, dreamlike paintings.

Extend your dreamlike experience by visiting the strangest shop in Paris, Deyrolles, located at Rue du Bac. This unusual shop is more than just a taxidermist; it is also a treasure trove of rarities and a home to several wild beasts…

Practical information:

Exhibition The Douanier Rousseau. Archaic Candour until 17 fo July 2016.
Musée d’Orsay
1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, Paris 7.
From tuesday to sunday, from 9:30 am to 6 pm.
Late opening on Thursday until 9:45 pm.
From 9 to 12 euros.