A tropical landscape by Henri Rousseau, who never left France nor saw a jungle. Instead, he drew inspiration from children’s books and studied plant life from the botanical gardens of Paris, remarking that “When I go into the glass houses and I see the strange plants of exotic lands, it seems to me that I enter into a dream.” It was this distance from his subject that lends his work its enchantment.
An outsider artist who claimed “no other teacher than nature,” his style is characterized by vivid colors, highly flattened forms and dreamlike subjects. Rejected by the academy, he was embraced by the avant-garde. When Pablo Picasso stumbled upon one of his paintings being sold on the street as waste canvas, he sought out Rousseau and held a banquet in his honor. His work went on to become a major influence upon generations of the avant-garde, including Picasso, Jean Hugo, Fernand Léger, Jean Metzinger, Max Beckmann and the Surrealists.