Rousseau’s Primates

Prolific French Post-Impressionist painter Henri Rousseau (1844-1910) created numerous dreamlike works portraying monkeys, including “The Tropics”, “Two Monkeys in the Jungle” and “Landscape with Monkeys”.  Self-taught, but somewhat influenced by two contemporary academic painters – Felix Clement and Jean-Leon Gerome – Rousseau’s rather naive style was often criticized.  His fantastic paintings of jungle settings and animals were not a result of travel, but due especially to a study of taxidermy specimens, visits to the Jardin des Plantes Menagerie/Botanical Gardens in Paris, and the influence of the exotic stories told by well-traveled friends and acquaintances.  Rousseau’s visionary works – found in collections worldwide – had an important impact on artists such as Picasso, Leger, Max Beckmann and the Surrealists, among others.


See:  Henri Rousseau,  P. Buttner, C. Green and F. Hohler,  2010.

Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris,  F. Morris and C. Green, eds.,  2006.