Born in 1844 and coming from a modest background, Henri Rousseau studied law and worked for the grant of Paris, which earned him the nickname “Douanier” by his friend Alfred Jarry. A self-taught painter, he drew his inspiration from books, but also from the accounts of combatants returning from the Mexican Campaign or from visits to botanical gardens.
A friend of Delaunay, Apollinaire and Picasso, he is especially appreciated by the avant-garde, and exhibits at the Salon des Indépendants after being refused at the official Salon. If his most famous works are his representations of the jungle, the Douanier Rousseau most often depicts places that are familiar to him, and which he treats according to his own vocabulary, identifiable at first glance. The absence of perspective, the treatment of colours and the naive aspect of the work testify to the sensitivity of the artist for whom André Breton will speak of “magic realism“.