Henri Rousseau (1844-1910) was a French Post-Impressionist painter. Post-Impressionism was a movement that, although affiliated with Impressionism, sought to correct its excesses. It called for a return to form, but not Academic naturalistic forms. Rousseau was a self-taught painter who worked as a customs officer until the age of 49, when he took up the brush full-time. He was a methodical and meticulous painter, who assembled layers of shapes and colors and stacked them on top of each other to create finished canvases. Rousseau was reviled by critics as a simplistic and untalented artist. Nevertheless, he significantly influenced the first generations of Surrealists who followed him.
Sleeping Gypsy (oil on canvas, 1897, at the MoMA). Although he never left France, most of Rousseau's images were of exotic settings and creatures.
The Repast of the Lion (oil on canvas, 1907, at the Met). Rousseau was particularly fond of jungle scenes, assembled from dozens of different shades of green.
Fight Between a Lion and a Buffalo (oil on fabric, 1908, at the Cleveland Museum of Art).