image: link to home page
image: Henri Rousseau: Jungels in Paris
image: The Hungry Lion Throws itself on the Antelope

Dangerous Exotic

A number of 1903 exhibitions memorializing Paul Gauguin—by then well known for his Tahitian paintings—may have triggered Rousseau's return to the jungle theme. It was with these later tropical jungle pictures, painted from 1904 until his death in 1910, that Rousseau finally secured a measure of critical recognition. Many of these paintings depict scenes of violence, particularly of animal combat. In part this reflected the image of the "savage exotic" put forward in colonial literature and seen in the work of artists such as Eugène Delacroix, who also made several paintings of animals fighting. Yet even the most threatening of Rousseau's jungle pictures, with their gory scenes of primal aggression, also represent lush, colorful, and alluring worlds, conveying the simultaneous terror and fascination Parisians felt toward far-off lands. These scenes say less about the jungle than about the anxieties of modern Paris.

Previous: Portraits | Next: Jungles

terms of use | home | Go to our page on Facebook Go to our page on Twitter