The Dream – Henri Rousseau’s Final Artwork And Death


Though the painter Henri Rousseau was self-taught and had a short creative profession, he created greater than 25 so-called jungle work, and his fashion influenced many younger artists on the finish of the twentieth century. He additionally created smaller depictions of Paris and its suburbs. Based on him and a few artwork historians, he created a brand new style of portrait cityscapes.

His final portray, “The Dream,” was additionally his final jungle portray and was accomplished shortly earlier than his dying. Tragically, the world-famous painter Henri Rousseau died as a poor man, and his burial was attended by solely seven of his pals. This text will let you know extra about Henri Rousseau’s artwork and briefly offer you his life story. 

Henri Julien Félix Rousseau’s Life Story

World-famous painter Henri Rousseau (1844-1910) was born in Laval, France. His father was a tinsmith, and Henri labored with him as a small boy. Henri attended Laval Excessive Faculty, the place he was mediocre in most of his highschool topics however gained many prizes for drawing and music. 

After he had accomplished highschool, he labored for a lawyer and even began to check regulation. Nonetheless, he didn’t full his research and joined the military in 1863 for 4 years. When Rousseau’s father died in 1868, he moved to Paris to assist his widowed mom. 

In 1868, he married his landlord’s daughter, with whom he had 9 kids, of which just one survived. The others died of tuberculosis. In 1871, he was appointed the Collector of Taxes on items getting into Paris. In 1888, his spouse died, and he married Josephine Noury in 1898. 

He started portray severely in his early forties, and within the early Eighteen Nineties, he retired from his tax collector’s job to work solely on his artwork. In August 1910, he was admitted to the Necker Hospital in Paris with gangrene in his leg, and after an operation, he died from a blood clot on 2 September 1910.

All about Henri Rousseau’s Artwork – the Starting

Rousseau claimed he solely had nature as his instructor. He didn’t obtain formal coaching as a painter, though he admitted he had acquired “recommendation” from Felix Auguste-Clement and Jean-Leon Gerome, two established Educational painters.

Artwork historians agree that he was self-taught, and he’s thought of to be what is called a naive or primitive painter. His best-known work are depictions of jungle scenes. Apparently, he by no means left France or noticed a jungle. As an alternative, he discovered inspiration in illustrated books and botanical gardens in Paris. He additionally studied “taxidermied jungle animals.” 

The record of greater than 25 Henri Rousseau jungle work contains “The Merry Jesters,” “In a Tropical Forest Fight of a Tiger and a Buffalo,” “The Equatorial Jungle,” “The Repast of the Lion,” “The Flamingos,” “Unique Panorama,” and “The Dream.” 

However other than Henri Rousseau’s jungle work, he additionally created smaller depictions of town and its suburbs. Based on him, he created a brand new style of portrait panorama. He would begin the portray with a view of part of town after which depict an individual within the foreground.

The Merry Jesters – Henri Julien Rousseau

Picture supply: The Merry Jesters – Henri Julien Rousseau

Extra about Henri Rousseau’s Artwork

He began to exhibit within the Salon des Independents in 1886. The Henri Rousseau work weren’t positioned prominently however drew many followers over time. In 1891, Rousseau acquired his extreme first overview. Nonetheless, it was a optimistic overview about his “Tiger in a Tropical Storm.”

In 1893, he moved to Montparnasse, the place he lived and labored till he died in 1910. One in all his most well-known artworks, “The Sleeping Gypsy,” was created in 1897. In 1905 the “Hungry Lion Throws Itself on the Antelope” was exhibited with younger avant-garde artists akin to Henri Matisse. From then on, his works had an amazing affect on youthful artists. 

He additionally acquired commissions. In 1907, the artist Robert Delaunay’s mom commissioned him to color “The Snake Charmer.”

The Dream – the Portray

“The Dream,” additionally a jungle portray, was the final portray Rousseau painted earlier than his dying and is deemed by many artwork critics as among the best Henri Rousseau work. The portray is the biggest of all his jungle work, measuring 6′ 8½” × 9′ 9½”.  

It includes a image of Rousseau’s Polish mistress from his youth, Yadwigha. She is depicted mendacity on a divan. She is a panorama of lush jungle foliage with lotus flowers and animals. The animals embody birds, monkeys, a lion and lioness, an elephant, and a snake.

Based on artwork students, the types of the jungle crops are primarily based mostly on Rousseau’s observations and interpretations of what he had seen on the Paris Museum of Pure Historical past and its “Jardin des Plantes.” Rousseau’s composition of the scene exhibits the girl’s left arm reaching in direction of the lions and a black snake charmer. The snake charmer is taking part in his flute and is going through the viewer. The pink-bellied snake slithers by the crops and displays the girl’s curves on the divan. 

The Dream – That means and Model of the Portray

Rousseau suspected that some viewers wouldn’t perceive the portray, so he wrote a poem to accompany the portray. The poem tells the story of Yadwigha, who has fallen asleep, and in her dream, she hears the snake charmer’s music and sees that each one the flowers, animals, and even the snake are listening to the joyous tunes of the charmer’s reed instrument. 

As among the best Henri Rousseau work, it displays Rousseau’s freedom from creative conference. There’s a combination of home furnishings with unique jungle crops within the portray. He additionally combined typical classicism with fashionable folks artwork. His fashion exhibits the a number of views of Cubism mixed with the imagery of Surrealism.

The Sleeping Gypsy - Henri Julien Rousseau

Picture Supply: The Sleeping Gypsy – Henri Julien Rousseau

The Dream – Highway to the Museum of Fashionable Artwork, New York

“The Dream” was purchased from Rousseau by the French artwork vendor Ambroise Vollard in February 1910. From March to Could 1910, it was exhibited on the Salon des Independents. Sadly, this was just a few months earlier than Rousseau’s dying.

Sidney Janis, a widely known artwork collector, acquired the work in 1934, and in 1954, Janis offered it to Nelson A. Rockefeller. Rockefeller donated it to the Museum of Fashionable Artwork, New York when the museum celebrated its twenty fifth anniversary. It’s presently nonetheless on show within the museum.

Sarcastically, this self-taught artist, who would grow to be the world-famous painter Henri Rousseau, died in poverty and was buried in a pauper’s grave with solely seven of his pals round it.


The world-famous painter Henri Rousseau is probably not as well-known to newbie artwork lovers as many different well-known painters. Nonetheless, it’s worthwhile to check his works, particularly his jungle work, together with “the Dream.” 


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