Museum Exhibition Catalogues, Monographs, Artist's Projects, Curatorial Writings and Essays
"Rousseau approaches nature like a child. Having no grasp of its laws, he experiences it anew every day. What matters to him is not what he sees, but what is invisible behind it." Wilhelm Uhde, quoted in Henri Rousseau.
Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Text by Ann Temkin.
A singular figure in the avant garde of the early twentieth century, Henri Rousseau (1844-1910) was a self-taught painter who turned to art after retiring as a customs inspector at the age of 49. Although he never left Paris, Rousseau painted a number of jungle scenes, drawing on images of the exotic as presented to the urban dweller through popular literature, colonial expositions and the Paris zoo. "The Dream" (1910) is the artist's last major work. Exhibited at the 1910 Salon des Independants a few months before Rousseau's death in September of that year, it exemplifies that surreal juxtaposition of the exotic and the domestic, realized with an uncanny exactitude, for which Rousseau is so beloved today. The poet and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire praised the work, countering his detractors: "The picture radiates beauty, that is indisputable. I believe nobody will laugh this year." In this volume, Ann Temkin, the Museum's Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, guides readers in deciphering this mysterious painting, illuminating its significance and placing it within the development of modern art and in Rousseau's own life.
Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Philippe Büttner, Christopher Green, Franz Hohler.
Nicknamed “Le Douanier” (“the customs officer”), Henri Rousseau (1844–1910) was in his early forties when he finally embraced his métier in painting, arriving with his independently achieved realism fully formed. Like Erik Satie, whom he resembles in what Roger Shattuck memorably called “tranquil self-confidence,” Rousseau straddles the Parisian avant gardes at the turn of the century, admired by Redon, Gauguin, Jarry and Degas at the outset of his career, and championed by Picasso, Apollinaire and Delaunay towards its close. Rousseau's style was derisively dubbed “Primitivism” by the press, but its lucid unity of limpid color and eerily serene definition was sophisticated in its simplicity, as his early advocates knew. Happily, Rousseau was so steeped in his vision that he could not be diverted from it—-Apollinaire wrote that “Rousseau had so strong a sense of reality that when he painted a fantastic subject, he sometimes took fright and, trembling all over, had to open the window.” With 80 color illustrations, this book commemorates the hundredth anniversary of the artist's death, placing at its core Rousseau's fascination with the frictions between a domesticated West and an untamed imaginary natural world. Previously unpublished records of early encounters with his works dimensionalize Rousseau within the lively milieu of his time, and show him to have been, from the start, a much beloved artist.