Paysage exotique (1909)

Rousseau, Henri (1844-1910)

Paysage exotique (The Equatorial Jungle)
Oil on canvas, 140.6 x 129.5 cm
National Gallery of ArtWashington

Two animals with golden yellow, brown, and black fur peer out from behind dense jungle foliage in this stylized, vertical painting. Most of the composition is filled with broadly painted areas of sage, olive, moss, and lemon-lime green to create an impenetrable wall of plants and growth. An oval of slate-blue sky to the left of upper center is framed by plants that grow up and off the top corners of the painting. Small in scale and nestled back among the growth near the lower center, the animal to our right has black eyes that look at or toward us, a long nose, and gray around its mouth and eyes. It has triangular ears and its body, which extends to our right, is dark brown with a lifted tail. To our left, another smaller animal, perhaps a baby, is mostly obscured by a fern frond and grass. This animal has small black eyes and chestnut-brown and black fur. Three large, stylized flowers with fuchsia-pink centers and pale petals grow above the animals, to our left. An oversized white hyacinth grows to our right. A narrow, brick-red bird sits on a branch above the pink flowers, almost lost among the plants. The artist signed and dated the lower right corner, “Henri Julien Rousseau 1909.” (NGA)