The Tabby by Henri Rousseau

The Tabby - Henri Rousseau -

Artwork Information

TitleThe Tabby
ArtistHenri Rousseau
Art MovementNaïve Art (Primitivism)
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About The Tabby

The artwork titled “The Tabby” is an instance of Naïve Art (Primitivism), a genre characterized by a childlike simplicity and frankness in its visual narrative. This animal painting, created by Henri Rousseau, is an oil on canvas composition and is currently held in a private collection. The piece reflects Rousseau’s distinctive style and typical inclusion of natural subjects within his work.

In this painting, one observes a robust, seated tabby cat, occupying the central focus amid a constrained spatial setting which is indicated more by suggestion rather than detailed delineation. The feline’s fur demonstrates a striated pattern of black and warm ochre tones, rendered with striking contrast and bold strokes that imbue the subject with a tactile presence.

Its eyes, large and round, convey a direct and somewhat enigmatic gaze that outwardly engages with the viewer. The background appears to be swiftly laid down, with slanted white strokes providing a plain backdrop which serves to emphasize the solidity and coloration of the tabby cat. The animal is positioned atop a rich, vermilion surface, possibly a piece of furniture, hinted at by the decorative, subtle scalloped edging observable at the lower region of the artwork. Overall, Rousseau’s “The Tabby” exudes a particular simplicity that is emblematic of the Naïve Art movement, while simultaneously capturing the quiet dignity and enigmatic nature of the domesticated feline form.

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