Welcome to the Jungle… The Mindscapes of Henri Rousseau

A R T L▼R K

51kiIMlGlMLOn the 2nd of September 1910, French Naïve painter Henri Rousseau died in Paris aged 66. A puzzling cult figure during his lifetime, Rousseau was very much a self-taught artist with a unique style, famous most of all for his visionary jungle scenes. The inspiration for his art seems to have come from various sources. “During his 4-year term of military service he met soldiers who had survived the French expedition to Mexico (1862–65) in support of Emperor Maximilian, and he listened with fascination to their recollections. Their descriptions of the subtropical country were doubtless the first inspiration for the exotic landscapes that later became one of his major themes. The vividness of Rousseau’s portrayals of jungle scenes led to the popular conception, which Rousseau never refuted, that he traveled to Mexico. In fact, he never left France.” (Britannica). The truth of the matter was that Rousseau had…

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