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Henri Rousseau, The Dream/Wikicommons
Henri Rousseau, The Dream/Wikicommons

Henri Rousseau, A Controversial Genius

Picture of Diana Vernon
Updated: 15 April 2016
A true narrator of fable and metaphor, the life and story behind this singular artist remains very intriguing. Henri Rousseau, or the ‘Douanier’ Rousseau, – named after his job as a customs agent – was a self-taught painter at the age of 49 and extremely avant-garde for his time. He hurdled all his life against criticism and little recognition due to his naive style of painting, which classified his artworks as Art Brut or Art Naif. Like faithful depictions of Robinson Crusoe’s adventures, Henri Rousseau painted landscapes of faraway lands that he never even visited – in a way that no one had ever done before. Known as the founding father of Modern Art, Rousseau is a truly authentic and unique case in the history of European art.