Friday, March 30, 2012

Rousseau, Henri

Discord on Horseback (War), La chevauchée de la discorde (La guerre)
Oil on Canvas
114 x 195 cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

According to Rousseau, the painting was inspired by a cartoon of the Tsar published in l'Egalité. Bearing Symbolist overtones, it depicts a horse and piles of bodies using fresh, harmonious colors and strange lighting.

Henri Rousseau (1844 -  1910) was a French Post-Impressionist painter in the Naïve or Primitive manner. He was also known as Le Douanier (the customs officer), a humorous description of his occupation as a toll collector. Ridiculed during his life, he came to be recognized as a self-taught genius whose works are of high artistic quality. At age 49 he retired from his job to work on his art.

He never left France or saw a jungle. His jungle landscapes derive from his visits and studies at the Paris Botanical Gardens. He was an outsider, and he was not familiar with the rules of the artistic establishment. Although he worked in traditional genres, producing landscapes, portraits, allegories, and exotic scenes, they were transformed in his hands. Flattened shapes and perspectives, the freedom of color and style, the subordination of realistic description to imagination and invention are the hallmarks of his work.
Rousseau's work exerted influence on several generations of vanguard artists, starting with Picasso and including Léger and the Surrealists