Woman in Red in the Forest (c.1907) by Henri Rousseau

Woman in Red in the Forest - Henri Rousseau - c.1907

Artwork Information

TitleWoman in Red in the Forest
ArtistHenri Rousseau
Art MovementNaïve Art (Primitivism)
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Woman in Red in the Forest

The artwork titled “Woman in Red in the Forest” is a notable piece by the artist Henri Rousseau, created approximately in 1907. This piece is executed in oil on canvas and is representative of the Naïve Art movement, specifically Primitivism. The genre of the piece is considered to be genre painting. Currently, this work is held in a private collection, signifying that it is not on public display.

In the artwork, one observes a solitary female figure clad in a vivid red dress set against a dense and lush forest backdrop. The woman, who stands centrally in the composition, carries a white parasol and wears a large brimmed hat, suggesting a level of sophistication or urbanity juxtaposed with the untamed natural environment surrounding her. The forest is rendered with an almost surreal greenery, comprised of large, broad leaves and stylized vegetation that fails to adhere strictly to botanical accuracy yet evokes a sense of an overriding, enveloping wilderness.

Rousseau’s use of flat, vibrant colors and a lack of conventional perspective is characteristic of his self-taught style, defining him within the Naïve or Primitive artistic movement. The choice of the color red for the woman’s dress starkly contrasts with the monochromatic green hues of the forest, creating a striking focal point. The treatment of light and shadow in the painting is subtle and does not necessarily follow realistic conventions, imbuing the scene with a dreamlike or otherworldly quality, which is a hallmark of Rousseau’s most celebrated works.

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