Henri Rousseau’s Rendezvous in the Forest is a painting that depicts a meeting between an array of people, including a lion, amidst trees and a blue sky. It is an example of Rousseau’s integration of popular culture materials like dime store adventure novels and postcards. The French Post-Impressionist artist was a toll collector in Paris but spent his free time pursuing art, with sketches of nature being his forte.
The painting exhibits the signature style of Henri Rousseau that exemplifies fantastical images or imaginary scenes. The twisted narrative, seemingly childlike in its naivety but with hints at more complex undertones beneath the surface, is characteristic of his work. Rendezvous signifies one such instance as it evokes thoughts around what led to these individuals’ journey to this spot.
Today, Rendezvous in the Forest can be viewed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. As one looks upon this masterpiece by Henri Rousseau from 1889, it invites one to take part in nature’s fantasy entailing animals and human characters detailed in vivid colors and intricate patterns akin to folk art.