The Dream & The Sleeping Gypsy | Henri Rousseau

The Dream (French: Le Rêve, occasionally also known as Le Songe or Rêve exotique) is a large oil-on-canvas painting created by Henri Rousseau in 1910, one of more than 25 Rousseau paintings with a jungle theme. His last completed work, it was first exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants from 18 March to 1 May 1910, a few months before his death on 2 September 1910.

Rousseau's earlier works had received a negative reception, but poet and critic Guillaume Apollinaire remarked on its debut: "The picture radiates beauty, that is indisputable. I believe nobody will laugh this year."

< Henri Rousseau, Le rêve / The Dream, 1910

Yadwigha, falling into sweet sleep, 
heard in a lovely dream 
the sounds of a musette 
played by a kind enchanter. 
While the moon shone 
on the flowers, the verdant trees, 
the wild snakes lent an ear 
to the instrument's gay airs.

Henri Rousseau

When I am in these hothouses and see the strange plants from exotic lands, it seems to me that I am entering a dream.

About his frequent visits to the National Museum of Natural History and Jardin des plantes.

André Kertész, The Lecturer, 1969-72

Henri Rousseau was self-taught and is considered to be a naïve or primitive painter. Although H. Rousseau completed more than twenty-five jungle paintings in his career, he never traveled outside France.

Henri Rousseau, La Bohémienne endormie / The Sleeping Gypsy, 1897

A wandering Negress, a mandolin player, lies with her jar beside her (a vase with drinking water), overcome by fatigue in a deep sleep. A lion chances to pass by, picks up her scent yet does not devour her. There is a moonlight effect, very poetic.

Henri Rousseau

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