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Henri Rousseau
France 1844−1910
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Biography and information
The heroes of his portraits Henri Rousseau was measured with a folding meter. All my life I dreamed to be realistic, focused on laws of academic painting, not knowing how he’s more of them. About his life to say a little awkward and felt hurt that happens when you as good, but funny and awkward person being bullied is also good, in fact, people. Just because he is such, ridiculous and awkward. And yet talking about it happily. Because I already know that it all happened, not the way he wanted, but much better.

— And they’re right, Henri, ' said Vincent. — We are crazy!
 — So shall we go for a drink? suggested Russo.
(Irving stone "Lust for life")

Henri Rousseau: it all began modestly

Henri Rousseau (Henri Julien Felix Rousseau) was born in the small French town of Laval, in the family of a poor tinsmith. He had two older sisters and a younger brother. Family barely making ends meet. At school Henry did not Shine, although mathematics and music have demonstrated success. After entered the law office. And almost immediately faced with the consequences of their naive attitude to life — as a result of incitement stole a small amount of bookkeeping. Was threatened with prison, instead of annual imprisonment, he chose 7 years of military service. At that time 19. Of the military exploits to his account of Rousseau not record. His regiment did not leave France. Although he will be supporting the legend that he visited during his service in Mexico, and from there the "roots" of tropical plants.

In 1868 his father died, Rousseau, Henri as the sole breadwinner in the family was released from further service. He took a bailiff and rented an apartment in Paris. Immediately fell in love with the hostess’s daughter Clemence and soon married her. A career he obviously did not Shine — his colleagues considered a little silly and very strange. And he has suffered enormously from having to go to the dwellings of the already disadvantaged people, and putting a lien on their property. He should know what it’s like, if the house of his father, too, was for debt for sale? He leaves this position in 1871, takes a job in the Paris customs Excise Department.

The customs officer comes to customs in the gallery

It will take many years before at the hands of countryman Rousseau poet Alfred Zhari the word "customs" will begin to write with big letters, implying that anyone not like the artist self-educated. At customs, he spent 15 years. Said he was on the job was set up my easel and painted enthusiastically. Late "customs landscapes" are preserved ("Customs gate").

In his spare time, he went to the Louvre and wrote copies of paintings by old masters. In 1885, Russo filed an application for participation in the free Art salon on the Champs Elysees. He provided copies of two of his own paintings. A common legend is that one of them seems a little unstable, the visitor stabbed a knife, but confirming that there are no facts.

Next year Russo for the first time participated in the exhibition of independent’s Salon, and from that time his paintings were regularly exhibited at the Salon. Cocky young artists urged on the elderly, from their point of view, Rousseau (he was in his forties!) and laughed at him, the audience at his paintings just laughed. But having eyes — already then saw. Some wag has summed up to "Carnival evening"CustomsCamille Pissarropromising that he was going to have some fun. Pissarro also stood before the painting in awe. And Paul Gauguin admired "Boy on the rocks" Rousseau and the ability to use black.

Personal life Customs

Henri and Clemence Rousseau had lived a poor, but happy, treated each other with extraordinary tenderness. In addition to painting, Rousseau was very fond of music, often played his wife on the violin and even composed for her "Waltz Clemence". The only thing that marred their happiness is weakness Clemence, she was sick with tuberculosis. Because the children were born sickly. Of the nine children seven died in infancy, survived daughter Julie, Clemence and son Henri-Anatole. In 1888 did not Clemence. Russo was very upset by her leaving. The daughter he gave to the education of his brother, he left with his son.

In 1893 superannuation Henri Rousseau retired. In 50 years, the artist son moved to Montparnasse, then just gaining glory favorite places artistic avant-garde. Rousseau falls in love with his new neighbour Josephine. She is married and initially remains cool to his declarations. Soon her husband died, and after some time died the son of Rousseau. This tragedy softened the heart of Josephine, and in 1898 she agreed to become the wife of the artist. Josephine works in a stationery store and sells there including pictures of her husband. Rousseau teaches, draws, and on weekends arranges free training classes for everyone. Alas, five years later, Henri Rousseau becomes a widower.

Who is the Officer?

The turning point was the acquaintance with Robert Delaunay. Unlike Rousseau, he clearly felt not only at the easel, but in any society. He largely contributed to the popularity of Rousseau. Thanks to Delaunay, Rousseau to the old out of poverty.

Among Bohemian youth was popular so-called "evenings at Customs". Russo has invited artists, poets and just friends, played music, they showed their paintings. And did not react to the fact that most of these friends come to laugh at him.

"Russo is perfection naive way of life"— as described it Picasso. Noisy filled his house, perfumed ladies in the narrow gloves manernichane, dapper dandies behaved like hardened connoisseurs of life and tried to look particularly witty on the background of this funny man. Picasso’s girlfriend fernande Olivier recalled: "He's easily blushed when someone objected to it or when he was embarrassed. He assented to everything he said, but I felt that he kept aloof and simply does not dare to speak their mind".

But not so simple. Simpleton Rousseau consisted in the Masonic order, and this part of his life almost nothing is known, except for the fact. Aptly to reply to stinging attacks it is also able on occasion, though, and did so very rarely. At one of the exhibitions of the Salon of independents, the Central place was given to the paintings by Degas, and Rousseau allotted a small cubicle. Edgar Degas went to Russo and arrogantly started talking: "I saw Mr. Russo, your, uh, painting…"— and paused, intending to continue in the same spirit. What Rousseau said calmly: "Yes, my paintings here. And you, Monsieur Degas, excuse me, where are exhibited now?".

On one evening in Rousseau came to see Van Gogh. While Bohemian youth laughed and taunted, he was silent and serious. Left, after everyone left, and said quietly: "Remove the mask, Russo. Understand, I am also a farmer and artist".

In 1907, Rousseau was again faced with the law, and again because of its simplicity: believing in the difficulties of the man, he had forged a check. He was threatened with imprisonment. According to one source, he was released from custody, because it was on the court, incredible naivety. It was obvious that his guilt is not, and the only thing that’s bothering him as soon as possible back to the colors. However, according to another version, the court struck down not only the innocence of the accused, but the word, semolina for it senior official, also a member of the free-Masonic order.

65-year-old Henri Rousseau in love again, but the object of his affection, the 59-year-old widow Leonia, above him only scoffs. The third marriage never took place, and in 1910, at Russo’s as a result of unsuccessful processing of the wound produced gangrene and die. But complete the story of Henri Rousseau, we’re not that sad fact, and a story about the famous reception in his honor.

The famous reception at the Picasso

"Honoring Russo", hosted by Pablo Picasso in 1908 in the Studio at the Bateau-Lavoir became a kind of legend. Someone says that the Banquet was a tribute to the invaluable talent of Rousseau, someone insists on drawing. Probably both versions are true.

Pablo Picasso and his girlfriend fernande Olivier mounted in the head of the table "throne" for Rousseau. Fernanda later recalled, that night through the shop Picasso passed almost the whole of Paris. Sounded welcoming speech in praise of the Officer, he played "Waltz Clemence", the wine flowed freely. In the midst of the festivities moved by Russo whispered Picasso: "We are two of the greatest artist of the era".

To enhance the solemnity overhead Russo was dangling chandeliers with candles, at some point they began to drip the wax, but not wanting to interrupt the speeches were delivered, and it’s a celebration in which sincerely believes, and even crying with excitement, Russo stays in place. Gradually on the head of it formed a wax coating. And this is perhaps the most poignant image of his life. Naive, anyone not like, sincere and awkward, talented Douanier Rousseau among either praising, or laughing at him, playing for these people, the violin, while on his head dripping hot wax…

Author: Alain Esaulova
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Henri Rousseau. The lake pavilion
The lake pavilion
Henri Rousseau
1901, 18.7×50.8 cm
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Whole feed
Artworks by the artist
total 184 artworks
Henri Rousseau. A Jaguar Attacking a Horse
A Jaguar Attacking a Horse
1910, 116×90 cm
Henri Rousseau. The sleeping Gypsy
The sleeping Gypsy
1897, 200.7×129.5 cm
Henri Rousseau. The snake-Charmer
The snake-Charmer
1907, 190×169 cm
Henri Rousseau. War (Rider of discord)
War (Rider of discord)
1894, 195×114.5 cm
Henri Rousseau. Sleep
1910, 298×204 cm
Henri Rousseau. Self-portrait
1890, 110×143 cm
Henri Rousseau. The Poet and His Muse (The Muse Inspiring the Poet). Portraits of poet Guillaume Apollinaire and painter Marie Laurencin
The Poet and His Muse (The Muse Inspiring the Poet). Portraits of poet Guillaume Apollinaire and painter Marie Laurencin
1909, 131×97 cm
Henri Rousseau. The Muse inspiring the poet
The Muse inspiring the poet
1909, 146×97 cm
Henri Rousseau. Malakoff
1898, 55×45 cm
View 184 artworks by the artist