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Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris

July 16 – October 15, 2006
East Building, Mezzanine, Northeast, and Upper Level, Northeast, and North Bridge

Henri Rousseau, Tropical Forest with Monkeys, 1910, oil on canvas, John Hay Whitney Collection, 1982.76.7

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: 48 paintings by Henri Rousseau, including landscapes, allegories, portraits, and the largest group ever assembled of Rousseau's jungle paintings, were shown in this first major retrospective of the artist's work in 20 years. The exhibition was organized thematically, beginning with Rousseau's first jungle picture, Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!), followed by sections that focused on Rousseau's forest pictures, suburban landscapes, allegories, portraits, and jungle paintings, and the exotic in 19th-century popular culture. More that 150 photographs, manuscripts, postcards, printed music sheets, books, journals, and other documents were on view, including 40 illustrations relating to expeditions and the colonization of Africa from the French publication, Le Petit Journal. A taxidermy display of a lion and an antelope from the zoological collections of the Paris Museum of Natural History was on view near the Rousseau painting it inspired, The Hungry Lion Throws Itself on the Antelope. 2 bronze sculptures of struggling man and beast by Emmanuel Frémiet, artist-in-residence at the Paris Museum of Natural History, also were loaned for the exhibition.

An audio tour narrated by National Gallery of Art director Earl A. Powell III and others was available. For the first time at the National Gallery, a special audio tour designed for children ages 7 through 12 was available as well.

A special documentary film narrated by Kevin Kline, Henry Rousseau: Jungles in Paris, was produced by the National Gallery of Art, department of exhibition programs. The film was screened daily in the East Building Auditorium. A short version was shown continuously in the exhibition. The film was made possible by the HRH Foundation. Jungles in Paris family days were presented on two weekends in July and August. The program was made possible by Melvin Henderson-Rubio. French specialties were available on weekends in the Terrace Café.

Organization: The exhibition was organized by Tate Modern, London, and the Réunion des musées nationaux and Musée d'Orsay, Paris, in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Christopher Green, professor of art history, Courtauld Institute, London, and Frances Morris, curator and head of displays, Tate Modern, with Claire Frèches-Thory, conservateur général, Musée d'Orsay, were curators. Documents, popular ephemera, and source materials were selected by Vincent Gille, chargé de mission, Pavillion des Arts, Paris, and Nancy Ireson, assistant curator, National Gallery, London. The exhibition at the National Gallery of Art was coordinated by Leah Dickerman, associate curator, modern and contemporary art, National Gallery of Art.

Sponsor: Major support for the exhibition was provided by the George Andreas Foundation. It was sponsored in part by the National Automobile Dealers Association. The exhibition was supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Attendance: 136,105

Catalog: Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris, edited by Frances Morris and Christopher Green. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2006.

Other Venues: Tate Modern, London, November 3, 2005–February 5, 2006
Galeries nationales du Grand-Palais/Musée d'Orsay, Paris, March 15–June 19, 2006

Rousseau, Henri
French, 1844 - 1910