The Football Players (1908) by Henri Rousseau

The Football Players - Henri Rousseau - 1908

Artwork Information

TitleThe Football Players
ArtistHenri Rousseau
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions80.3 x 100.5 cm
Art MovementNaïve Art (Primitivism)
Current LocationSolomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, NY, US

About The Football Players

“The Football Players” is an oil on canvas painting by Henri Rousseau, created in 1908. This artwork exemplifies the Naïve Art movement, particularly Primitivism, and is classified as a genre painting. Measuring 80.3 by 100.5 cm, the artwork is on display at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum located in New York City, NY, US.

In the artwork, we observe a vibrant and animated scene of five figures engaged in a game of football, set against a dense, leafy backdrop that characterizes Rousseau’s style. The central figure dominates the composition by reaching for a large, brown ball, while two teammates in horizontal striped uniforms rush forward in anticipation, their faces marked by exaggerated expressions. A contrasting figure in vertical stripes stands off to the side, seemingly caught mid-stride and distanced from the primary action. The players are portrayed with a simplified childlike sense of proportion and perspective. Rousseau’s treatment of the lush foliage, a recurring theme in his works, and the flat, dreamlike quality of the scenery form a unique juxtaposition with the animated sporting event. The use of vivid colors and the incorporation of a whimsical, almost theatrical element make the artwork a notable example of Rousseau’s distinctive and innovative approach to painting.

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