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The Waterfall

Geometric landscape painting filled with lush green stylized trees, leaves, and ferns, with a high horizon line. A patch of red leaves at lower right. At lower left, two black-skinned figures stand in front of a small rocky waterfall beside two antelope-like animals.

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  • Geometric landscape painting filled with lush green stylized trees, leaves, and ferns, with a high horizon line. A patch of red leaves at lower right. At lower left, two black-skinned figures stand in front of a small rocky waterfall beside two antelope-like animals.

Date:

1910

Artist:

Henri Rousseau
French, 1844–1910

About this artwork

Among the very last compositions Henri Rousseau painted, The Waterfall is typical of the large-scale jungle scenes for which he gained renown in the 20th century. A self-taught artist who worked by day as a customs agent until the age of 49, Rousseau never set foot outside of France. Instead, he learned about the flora and fauna of far-away places through visits to Paris botanical gardens and zoos as well as in popular books. As a result, his landscapes often reflect how Parisians at the time imagined France’s colonial empires in Africa and the Americas. Here, he created a secluded vignette of two dark-skinned figures and a pair of deer at a stream surrounded by dense foliage. As we look upon them, seemingly undetected or just noticed by the deer, we encounter a fictional scene that reflects 20th-century European ideas about escaping modernity and returning to more peaceful origins.

Status

On View, Gallery 391

Department

Modern Art

Artist

Henri Rousseau

Title

The Waterfall

Origin

France

Date

1910

Medium

Oil on canvas

Inscriptions

Signed, l.r.: "Henri Rousseau, 1910"

Dimensions

45 3/4 × 59 1/8 in. (116.2 × 150.2 cm)

Credit Line

Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection

Reference Number

1926.262

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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