View of the Outskirts of Paris (1896) by Henri Rousseau

View of the Outskirts of Paris - Henri Rousseau - 1896

Artwork Information

TitleView of the Outskirts of Paris
ArtistHenri Rousseau
Art MovementNaïve Art (Primitivism)
Current LocationDetroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI, US

About View of the Outskirts of Paris

The artwork titled “View of the Outskirts of Paris” was created by artist Henri Rousseau in 1896. It is an oil on canvas painting that belongs to the Naïve Art movement, specifically Primitivism, and is classified as a cityscape. This piece of art is housed at the Detroit Institute of Arts located in Detroit, Michigan, United States.

The artwork presents a serene and somewhat flat interpretation of an urban environment at the edge of Paris. The composition features several multi-story, block-like buildings that display the characteristic architecture of the time. It has a pronounced foreground that provides a sense of depth, with a dark pier structure extending into a large body of water, possibly the Seine River, and sparse figures that populate the painting, conveying a sense of quiet daily life. Dominating the center are two tall smokestacks, likely part of a factory, that serve as visual anchors in the cityscape, while to the right, there is a bridge with arches crossing the river.

The color palette is muted, with earthy tones and soft blues that contribute to the calm atmosphere of the scene. The sky is filled with billowing clouds, suggesting a vast expanse above the urban space. Rousseau’s characteristic style is evident in the simplicity of the forms and the somewhat childlike rendering of perspective and scale, a hallmark of the Naïve Art movement. Overall, the artwork captures a moment in time at the outskirts of Paris, reflecting the industrial expansion of the era while maintaining a tranquil and almost idyllic vision of the urban landscape.

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