The portrait of a woman, which is currently residing at the Musee Picasso, was painted by H.enri Rousseau in 1895 to 1897. It depicts a woman dressed in Victorian era clothing with deep blue and white as the main color elements. The overall style of this piece is post-impressionism and is similar to Rousseau’s other works such as The Dream and The Sleeping Gypsy.
Through his use of complementary colors, Rousseau creates a sense of balance and harmony between the vividness and realism of the scene. The subject’s presence is both realistic and dreamlike; this creates an intertwined connection between the past and present. His use of abstract shapes, brushstrokes and tonal gradations give the image an emotive quality that conveys a sense of compassion for the subject.
This piece communicates much about not just Henri Rousseau’s artistry but also about how he viewed his subjects and what he believed beauty should look like—a timeless representation of humanity or life itself. One can see a similar technique in his next painting, Fight between a Tiger and Buffalo, in 1908. Both pieces evoke emotion as they strive to capture life as it’s happening every moment; encapsulating time in something beautiful yet nostalgic.