Craig Ferguson was not 51 yesterday, but 49. Apologies for the fuzzy math…I won’t even attempt the calculation for Saturday’s anniversary of the birth in 1844 of Henri Rousseau, a man of limited opportunities but unlimited aspirations. An employee of the Paris Municipal Toll Service, he dreamed of art, of painting, of joining the ranks of the working artists of his Montparnasse neighborhood.
Initially, very few people took him seriously – he was the ultimate outsider – but as a new generation of artists appeared, he garnered more attention. Matisse, Braque, Picasso became admirers, Brancusi wrote his epitaph. There is a very nice little essay at the Princeton website which corrects a lot of misinformation. And here is a good collection of his work.
His jungles, btw, were based on studies in the Botanical Gardens of Paris, and the animals were the products of taxidermy.