Woman Walking in an Exotic Forest (1905) by Henri Rousseau

Woman Walking in an Exotic Forest - Henri Rousseau - 1905

Artwork Information

TitleWoman Walking in an Exotic Forest
ArtistHenri Rousseau
Art MovementNaïve Art (Primitivism)
Current LocationBarnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA, US

About Woman Walking in an Exotic Forest

Henri Rousseau’s “Woman Walking in an Exotic Forest,” completed in 1905, is an oil on canvas belonging to the Naïve Art movement, specifically Primitivism. This genre painting is part of the collection at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, PA, United States. The artwork features a lush and dense jungle scene, typifying Rousseau’s fascination with exotic and wild landscapes.

Examining the artwork, one immediately notices the central figure of a woman, elegantly dressed, calmly strolling through the vibrant and seemingly untamed vegetation. She is slightly off-center, wearing a pale pink dress with a red sash, and a stylish white hat adorned with a red ribbon. Her demeanor suggests leisure and comfort despite the wild surroundings, hinting at a narrative of adventure and exoticism that Rousseau often romanticized in his paintings.

Rousseau’s self-taught painting style is evident in the flatness of the forms and the careful attention to detail in each leaf and flower. There is a deliberate lack of depth, as he treats the background, middle ground, and foreground with the same level of detail. The striking blue flowers and ripe orange fruits amidst the verdant greens are rendered with a decorative quality that makes the entire scene vibrantly alive. Despite Rousseau never having left France, his imagination conjured up this dreamlike tropical forest that invites viewers into a serene, almost otherworldly domain.

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