Henri Rousseau (1844-1910), nicknamed "Le Douanier" or "the customs man" after the job he worked before becoming an artist, was a Post-Impressionist painter of the late 19th Century. Although Rousseau sought to emulate academic traditions, his lack of formal training in the basics of composition and perspective gave his artwork a unique touch. The painter was a regular contributor to Paris exhibitions, but, during his lifetime, was viewed with amusement and condescension by both the public and fellow artists. Henri Julien Felix Rousseau was born on May 21st, 1844, in the town of Laval in the North of France. His parents were Julien and Eleonore Rousseau. The family was part of a long line of petty bourgeoisie and the father owned several tin-ware shops. During the early years of his life, Henri was raised in relative prosperity, which made his parents' later financial woes affect him all the harder. At the age of 5, little Henri was enrolled at the local elementary school, after completing which he entered the Laval lycee. Although the boy had demonstrated an inclination for art early on, it was not done for members of the bourgeoisie to pursue the unconventional and monetarily unrewarding vocation of painting, and there was no talk of giving the child an artistic education. Rousseau would often rue his parents' inability to recognize his talent in later years.
c.1905. Oil on canvas 33 x 46.4 cm. Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
1909. Oil on canvas. Support: 140.6 x 129.5 cm. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.
1893. Oil on canvas. Harmo Museum, Nagano, Japan.
1908. Oil on canvas. 116 x 89 cm. Private collection.
1900-3. Oil on canvas 23 x 19 cm. Musée Picasso, Paris, France.
1900-5. Oil on canvas. 46.5 x 55.5 cm. Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France.
1907. Oil on canvas. 130 x 161 cm. Musée Picasso, Paris, France.
1908. Oil on canvas. 46.2 x 37.6 cm. Staatliche Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main; Germany.
1908. Oil on canvas. 54.6 x 45.7 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.
1886. Oil on canvas. 117.3 x 89.5 cm. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
c. 1886. Oil on canvas. 70 x 60.5 cm. Kunsthaus, Zurich, Switzerland.
1889. Oil on canvas. 92 x 73 cm. The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.
. c. 1890. Oil on canvas. 40.6 x 32.7 cm. Courtauld Institute Galleries, London, UK.
1890. Oil on canvas. 37.5 x 32.5 cm. Courtauld Institute Galleries, London, UK.
1891. Oil on canvas. 130 x 162 cm. National Gallery, London, UK.
c.1892. Oil on canvas. 20.5 x 75 cm. Musée du Vieux-Château, Laval, France.
1893-5. Oil on canvas. 61 x 45.7 cm. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
c. 1893-5. Oil on canvas. 79.1 x 98.9 cm. The Solomon R. Guggebheim Museum, New York, NY, USA.
1894. Oil on canvas. 114 x 195 cm. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.
1895-7. Oil on canvas. 198 x 115 cm. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.