Henri Rousseau – the self-taught, multifaceted, original Gemini
"When I go into the glass houses and I see the strange plants of exotic lands, it seems to me that I enter into a dream."
Known for his naïve (self-taught) and primitive art, Henri Rousseau
reflects the quintessential nature of the “original” Gemini. His paintings illustrate his study of, and
playful connection to nature. He infuses nature’s imagery with an exotic
quality that exudes the unique imagination and exploration that emphasizes this
Gemini personality. His paintings
demonstrate that training, though valuable, is not as important as talent,
inspiration and originality. “The Tiger” in a tropical storm
(surprised)”reveals that innate genius.
Rousseau’s best paintings depict
jungle scenes, even though he never left France or saw a jungle.
In order to coincide with their dual nature, Gemini s need
to put their hands in many pots. In addition to painting, he became a teacher,
a military man, a playwright and was well versed in poetry and music. He was interested in exploring the realm of
ideas , and in the artistic journey that ensued . He was dubbed "Le Douanier"
(customs officer) after his main occupation outside of making art. He incorporated his many interests in the
painting below called, “La Muse Inspirant Le Poète.”
Employing a highly personal method of working, Henri Rousseau gathered the elements for his paintings from numerous sources: engravings in illustrated magazines, all sorts of paintings from different eras, photographs, and advertising catalogues. The catalogues provided a detail here, the posture of a person or an animal there, or even a compositional structure, which again shows his restless need to create original works.
Although his work is difficult to categorize, it has been reported that he was influenced by his contemporary Paul Gauguin (a fellow Gemini). As you can see, both artists had a technical quality to their works working with definitive lines and crisp color to cater to their more logical nature and less to an emotional response to life.