The Sleeping Gypsy (1897) by Henri Rousseau

The Sleeping Gypsy - Henri Rousseau - 1897

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Sleeping Gypsy
ArtistHenri Rousseau
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions200.7 x 129.5 cm
Art MovementNaïve Art (Primitivism)
Current LocationPrivate Collection, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, NY, US
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About The Sleeping Gypsy

One of Henri Rousseau’s most renowned works is The Sleeping Gypsy – La Bohemienne endormie), 1897, which is currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. This whimsical painting depicts a lion musing over a sleeping woman under the light of a full moon, in an exotic setting. The masterful composition of this painting combines hard lines and flattish perspectives to great advantage, providing viewers with an impression of beauty and mystery. With such features, this piece is a prime example of Rousseau’s body of work that has captured viewers across the decades with its eccentricity and otherworldly feel.

The scene itself appears surrealistic and dreamy. In it, a lion stands by attentively as it watches over a sleeping black woman in a desert night. The scenery showcase Rousseau’s talent for creating captivating works that fuse imagination with reality. As one gazes at the painting, they can almost hear the woman’s breath as she takes her rest while her ever-watchful guardian looks on. It is no wonder why this painting remains one of Rousseau’s most beloved works today.

Moving from Rousseau’s 1897 work to his later creations, we find The Football Players from 1908 – another classic example in Rousseau’s oeuvre. Here we find again his idiosyncratic paintings featuring subjects within an illusionistic space that only exists in the mind and artworks of this gifted French post-Impressionist artist.

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