1889  WORLD’S  FAIR,  PARIS,  FRANCE (May 5 – October 31)

The World’s Fair in Paris was truly amazing in many ways, but the most enduring accomplishment of the  Fair is The Eiffel Tower,  a true engineering marvel finished just in time for the Fair. It is also a great work of art, which as you might guess by now, was very strongly criticized by hundreds of artists, architects and other professionals.  Rousseau was different; he featured the Eiffel Tower in his Myself, Landscape Portrait, which he took to the 1890 Salon. [Perhaps Rousseau’s lack of  education in fine arts was a “blessing in disguise.” Even Monsieur Gerome told him to keep his “naivete.”]

The wonder and excitement of wandering through the great exhibits was greatly diminished for Rousseau. I’m sure the sadness of losing his wife was still with him, and he was accompanied only by the memories of Clemence.

The Eiffel Tower at the entrance to The 1889 World's Fair, Paris, France

The Eiffel Tower at the entrance to The 1889 World’s Fair, Paris, France

1889  FIFTH  SALON  of the INDEPENDENTS  (September 2-October 4)

The death of a close friend sometimes causes us to have a different perspective on life. I have no proof, but I feel certain that after the death of Clemence,  the quality and subject matter of Rousseau’s art at the 1889 Salon was affected by his inner despair and depression. One of the paintings Rousseau entered in the 1889 Salon des Independants was A Suicide.  The other 2 were Portrait of Madame G and To My Father, Portrait of Mademoiselle Lepallier.  I have not been able to find any of these.

In retrospect, the 1889 Salon is probably most famous for The Starry Night and Irises, by Vincent van Gogh, which he painted while he was in the asylum at Saint-Remy.  A critic wrote in L’Evenement, “I’ve never seen anything more grotesque than Monsieur Rousseau’s Suicide and his portraits and Monieur van Gogh’s Starry Night.” [Yann le Pichon, p.255]  Interestingly, I believe both were in mental anguish.

The Starry Night, by Vincent van Gogh, submitted [by his brother, Theo] to the 1889 Salon des Independants, courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York

The Starry Night, by Vincent van Gogh, submitted [by his brother, Theo] to the 1889 Salon des Independants, courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Also in 1889 the grieving Rousseau finished painting Rendezvous in the Forest, which is now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USA. We remember that his Clemence had died the previous year (May 7, 1888). My personal opinion is that Rousseau, in the wonder world of his imagination, is painting himself at a romantic rendezvous in the forest, possibly meeting with Clemence.

Rendezvous in the Forest | Henri Rousseau | 1889 | courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Rendezvous in the Forest | Henri Rousseau | 1889 | courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

 

1890  SIXTH SALON of the INDEPENDENTS (March 19 – April 27)

Henri offered 4 of his paintings for public viewing: (1) Myself, Landscape Portrait,  (2) View of Issy,  Springtime Effect after the Storm,  (3) View of Billancourt and Bas-Meudon, Mist Effect,  and (4)  Portrait of M. B.  He also entered some drawings (pen and ink, pen and pencil).  And lastly he submitted a painting by his daughter, Julia (age 13, almost 14), entitled My First by Julia Rousseau, Born in Paris.

Myself, Landscape Portrait (National Gallery, Prague, Czech  Republic) Henri Rousseau often worked at Le Port Saint-Nicolas in Paris. He is standing in front of the old Carousel Bridge.

Myself, Landscape Portrait (National Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic) Henri Rousseau often worked at Le Port Saint-Nicolas in Paris. He is standing in front of the old Carousel Bridge.

In the background of Myself, Landscape Portrait, Henri painted the new Eiffel Tower and the old Carousel Bridge, (later replaced by a concrete bridge), crossing the Seine River. He is at the Port of Saint Nicolas where he sometimes worked.  The customs booth is on the right.  

LOOKING  FOR  LOVE  IN  PARIS: Marie Foucher   Henri found himself in love with Marie Foucher,  a housekeeper at the Palace of the Louvre, not far from where Henri sometimes worked at the Port of Saint-Nicholas.  Henri was hoping Marie would be his next wife. On his painter’s palette he wrote two names: “Clemence ” and “Marie.” Marie was a kind person, and she became a good friend, but she would not consent to be Rousseau’s wife.  Marie in the following year (March, 1891) married a policeman. Years later, Henri painted over Marie’s name and wrote “Josephine”, the name of his second wife.

Henri Rousseau by this time had an established reputation in the Salon of the Independents. Even the French President, Marie Francois Sadi Carnot, as he passed Rousseau’s paintings, commented, “We are in the midst of the Independents.”  Most of  the art critics still were not pleased with Rousseau’s art. However as Paul Gauguin looked at Rousseau’s work, he supposedly said, “Now that is painting!  It’s the only thing that can be looked at here.”

July 29, 1890, Vincent van Gogh died at age 37. He had been shot. Most people believe he shot himself, but there is some debate about that.

December 24, 1890  Death of Henri’s mother.  Henri’s older sister, Henriette-Anatolie [Rousseau] Roze was still living in Angers. Their mother at some point had moved in with Anatolie. On the day before Christmas, their mother, Eleanore Rousseau, died. She was 71,

NEXT: The Seventh Salon of the Independents | 1891 | Surprised! (his first jungle scene)  GO TO PART 13

Enfant de Fleur: Authentic, Unretouched Portrait by Henri Rousseau: GO TO PORTRAIT
Enfant de Fleur/Flower Child: Child Portraits Compared: GO TO CHILD PORTRAITS
Enfant de Fleur: Is Flower Child his granddaughter ? GO TO GRANDDAUGHTER
Enfant de Fleur/Flower Child: Fine Art Investment Opportunity GO TO OPPORTUNITY
Contact Page GO TO CONTACT PAGE

Henri Rousseau: Paintings in Museums Around the World GO TO MUSEUMS
1. The Story of a Man determined to be one of the Greatest Painters in France GO TO PART 1
2. Born in FRANCE|Kings & Castles|Revolution|Napoleon|Victor Hugo GO TO PART 2
3. Henri Rousseau | His Family and Childhood GO TO PART 3
4. Henri Rousseau | SOLDIER BOY GO TO PART 4
6: Henri Rousseau | Sunday Painter | Love and Life in Paris GO TO PART 6
7. Henri Rousseau | Six Children Died / Only Julia Lived Past Age 18. GO TO PART 7
8. Henri Rousseau | Paris Customs Office (The Douanier) | Painting on the Job GO TO PART 8
9. Henri Rousseau | 1884 – not good enough | The French Art Salons GO TO PART 9
10. Henri Rousseau | 1885 Debut | 1886 A Carnival Evening GO TO CHAPTER 10
11. Henri Rousseau | Adieu, Mon Cher Amour. GO TO PART 11
14. Henri Rousseau | Looking for Love in Paris | 1893 | Moving to Montparnasse GO TO PART 14
15. Henri Rousseau | full-time painter | “War” in 1894 | Julia: “Au revoir, papa” GO TO PART 15
16. Henri Rousseau | Ambroise Vollard – the art dealer GO TO PART 16
17. Henri Rousseau | Alfred Jarry | More on “War”| Paul Gauguin GO to PART 17
18. Henri Rousseau | 1895 Paintings |short Autobiography GO TO PART 18

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