Once upon a time, a man Small Photo of Rousseau of modest means fell asleep. 

It was a deep, penetrating sleep --

a sleep of shallow jungles and overgrown houseplants,

of men dwarfed by weeds and sofas in the middle of the forest. 

And color!  Color -- bold, bright, childlike Color --

abounded while snakes swooned and women slept dangerously. 

Ah, yes, it was a good dream. 

Rousseau's The Sleeping Gypsy

But when Henri was awake, he was wide, wide awake. 


He took the oil paints (for which he still owed the supply shop)

from the table and stood before the canvas. 

He started at the top of the canvas and slowly

worked his way to the bottom, painting first the blues and greens,

then the reds and yellows.  Finally, when the painting was

almost perfect, his wife knocked on the door.


"Henri," she said (in French, of course), "you must go to work now." 


The life of Le Douanier isn't easy,

but he believes in himself.

Henri with a Painting

And more importantly,

he believes in the Wonderful World around him.


Welcome to the World of

Henri Rousseau

compiled by Traci L. Bonnette

* Homepage   * Biography   * Rousseau and his Admirers
* An Introduction to Rousseau's Works    *
Rousseau as a Magical Realist
* Helpful Links and Works Cited   * Texts Cited