Still Life with Exotic Fruit (1908) by Henri Rousseau

Still Life with Exotic Fruit - Henri Rousseau - 1908

Artwork Information

TitleStill Life with Exotic Fruit
ArtistHenri Rousseau
Art MovementNaïve Art (Primitivism)
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Still Life with Exotic Fruit

“Still Life with Exotic Fruit” is an artwork by Henri Rousseau completed in 1908, utilizing oil on canvas as its medium. This painting falls under the category of Naïve Art, specifically Primitivism, and possesses the genre of a still life. Currently, the artwork is held in a private collection.

The artwork displays a vibrant and densely populated arrangement of tropical fruits. It captures a rich array of textures and colors, demonstrating a meticulous attention to detail that is a hallmark of Rousseau’s style. A sumptuous grouping of bananas, both whole and partially peeled, anchors the composition. Their speckled surfaces and soft curvature contrast with the surrounding fruit. The central focus of the artwork features an open papaya with its black seeds spilling out, providing both a visual and textural focal point.

Lemon and lime-hued spheres, likely citrus fruits, add to the medley with their bright, inviting colors, while the segmented peel of a citrus fruit reveals the succulent flesh within. A custard apple is depicted with geometric precision, its patterned exterior indicative of the unique textures that Rousseau relished in painting. The shallower depth of field and the imprecise rendering of perspective are typical of the Naïve Art movement, which emphasizes a more instinctual and less technical approach to art-making.

Lush green leaves intermingle with the fruit, lending an air of the natural world’s abundance and fecundity. A solitary ant can be seen on the shell of a citrus fruit, a detail that adds a sense of life and realism to the otherwise static composition. The green leaves and ripe fruits are rendered with varying shades and tones, suggesting volume and form in an otherwise two-dimensional space.

The overall effect of the artwork is one of harmonious abundance, where nature’s offerings are portrayed in a way that is both simple and exotic, a tranquil scene plucked from the artist’s imagination and rooted in his fascination with the natural world. Rousseau’s “Still Life with Exotic Fruit” thus stands as a testament to his unique artistic vision within the Naïve Art tradition.

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