The Banks of the Oise (1905) by Henri Rousseau

The Banks of the Oise - Henri Rousseau - 1905

Artwork Information

TitleThe Banks of the Oise
ArtistHenri Rousseau
Dimensions55.9 x 45.7 cm
Art MovementNaïve Art (Primitivism)
Current LocationSmith College Museum of Art (SCMA), Northampton, MA, US

About The Banks of the Oise

“The Banks of the Oise,” created in 1905, is a work by Henri Rousseau, an artist associated with the Naïve Art or Primitivism movement. This landscape painting is executed in oil on canvas and measures 55.9 by 45.7 cm. The artwork resides in the collection of the Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA) located in Northampton, Massachusetts, United States.

The artwork depicts a serene landscape featuring the banks of the Oise River. In the foreground, two sailboats with crisp white sails and vibrant red hulls are gently floating on the calm water. The riverbank is lined with a variety of lush vegetation and trees, some with elongated and very upright forms, others more rounded and dense in their canopies. A sense of depth is created by the river receding into the distance, flanked by the dense foliage on either side.

Above, the sky is filled with billowing clouds, suggesting either the clearing of a storm or the potential for inclement weather. The choice of colors in the artwork is somewhat muted, with an emphasis on greens, browns, and grays, which imbues the scene with a tranquil, almost melancholic atmosphere. The painting demonstrates Rousseau’s characteristic naive style, with a simplified depiction of the landscape elements, and a lack of traditional perspective that adds to the charm and distinctive quality of the work.

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