Henri Rousseau: French 'customs officer' with jungle heart

Monday October 14 10.43 GMT

Henri Rousseau: 'the customs' Frenchman with jungle heart

At the end of the 19th century, the colorful and naive paintings of one such Henri Rousseau they began to attract attention in the Paris Independents Hall.

Henri Julien Felix Rousseau was born in Laval, France, in 1844, and after the death of his father he moved to Paris.

As a child, Henri Rousseau had an affinity for painting and drawing, but he began to paint constantly around the 40 years.

He worked for years in product tax offices entering Paris, and from there he received the nickname the customs

He participated constantly in the Independents Hall from 1886 and until his death in 1910.

In 1891, Tiger in a tropical storm Surprised!, had the first positive review of his career.

Jungles in the city

Henri Rousseau never left France.

For the exotic scenes he represented, he was inspired by the walks he regularly did at Natural History Museum of Paris, to the Zoo and the legendary Jardin des Plantes from the French capital.

It is also known that he collected printed images that he later used as references for his paintings.

One of its most important sources was the album Bêtes Sauvages, which gathered around 200 photographs of animals in captivity.

Avant-garde influence

Henri Rousseau's self-taught work was ridiculed by critics.

Paradoxically, his colorful images and his representations of children's stories were extremely influential for the artists of the historical avant-gardes.

Rousseau's influence would be evident in painters like Picasso, Léger, Beckmann and the surrealist movement.

Today Henri Rousseau's paintings continue to inspire artists, musicians, poets and creators of all disciplines.