“Is this a portrait? A picture of a big-headed dwarf? Even if I draw, I will draw better than that.”
Exhibition of the Association of Independent Artists held in Paris, France in 1889. When someone said this, the exhibition hall became a sea of laughter. I did just that. All the viewers who saw the painting had the same mind. It was an exhibition where anyone could freely present their works by paying an participation fee, but it was the first time I had ever seen such a bizarre work.
The author’s name is Henri Rousseau. He worked as a civil servant at the Paris customs office, painting every weekend as a hobby. Rousseau’s drawing skills were known for being crude. Particularly terrifying was his portrait skills. He had never formally studied painting. Of course I didn’t know how to draw portraits. The most I came up with was to measure the length of the other person’s features and draw a picture in proportion to it, and the result was this shape. Models also hated looking at portraits. Even Rousseau’s friend received the painting and burned it in a bad mood.
But it’s a strange thing. Rousseau, who was ridiculed like this, is evaluated as an art master today, and his paintings are treated as masterpieces. A prime example is his landscape painting ‘ Les Flamants ‘ at a Christie’s New York auction last May, which was sold for $43.54 million (approximately 57.9 billion won) after fierce competition. What happened in the meantime? Why are there so many people who want to have Rousseau’s paintings even after paying such a huge amount? Let’s solve the clue through Rousseau’s life and art world.
A foolish ‘self-taught painter with a dirt spoon’A foolish, gullible, pathetic person. A person who sometimes has troublesome accidents. However, someone who wants to take care of me because I feel bad for some reason. Every group has at least one person like this. Rousseau was such a person.
Rousseau’s life first took a twist when he was nine years old. His father, who had been making good money, took out debt and made a ‘smart investment’, but it failed miserably. His family has become a beggar. The young Rousseau also had to drop out of his school and earn money. The second was when he was nineteen. Rousseau could not overcome the greed of the moment and was caught stealing pennies from his workplace. Handed over to trial, he immediately submitted an application for enlistment. He thought that if he appeared at the trial wearing a military uniform, the judge would treat him leniently, considering him a sound young man. But it was futile. Prisons went to prison cells, and he had to serve four years in the military for nothing.
After discharge, Rousseau got a job as a customs officer. The customs officer’s job was not very difficult. But he was poorly paid and worked over 70 hours a week. He worked all day and earned a meager salary, barely enough to put his mouth on. Painting was the only way out of Rousseau’s life. The inspiration came from Auguste Clément, a famous painter who lived nearby, who casually said, “If you paint well, you can succeed.”
On holidays, Rousseau went alone to the galleries and museums of Paris. She studied her art by copying and painting the artwork on the walls. It was Rousseau’s dream that he would become a great painter and attain wealth and fame. But he couldn’t learn to paint realistically like the famous paintings in the museum. All he could do was meticulously describe and color the things he observed himself.
Rousseau first showed his work in front of his people on August 18, 1886. His work garnered a lot of attention at the exhibition of the Association of Independent Artists held at the temporary exhibition hall of the headquarters of the Paris Post Office. On the bad side, of course. The audience stopped in front of his painting and laughed to tears. One media reviewed his work like this. “Rousseau seems to be painting with his feet with his eyes closed.”
Nonetheless, he persisted in drawing. He also sold his own work by loading it on a handcart and going around. Neither ridicule, nor poverty, nor the death of his wife and four children from tuberculosis could dampen his enthusiasm. In the end, he declares that he will beat the customs officer and live as a full-time painter. It was when he was 49 years old.
I got angry after beating a government officialThe walls of the art world were high. His fellow painters and critics ignored him. There were times when Rousseau’s works were not hung, saying that the exhibition was of poor quality. In fact, Rousseau’s drawing skills were not cool. He was ridiculed for his poor drawing of his fingers, and he deliberately set the characters in the bush because he did not know how to draw his toes properly.
The public also turned away from his paintings. Because the paintings did not sell well, Rousseau continued to suffer from abject poverty. He had to starve after buying art supplies. His house was a one-room apartment, and he had to keep moving to find a cheaper place. To earn his living, Rousseau tutored painting and music to the elderly and children, and earned money by playing the violin on the street.
Even in this situation, Rousseau was bluffing. When I was in the army, I was dispatched to Mexico and saw a tiger, I made a big contribution in the war with Germany, and a famous person said “You are the one who needs to draw” as soon as he saw my face, so I decided to become an artist… . All these things Rousseau always said were lies.
Something like this happened. One day, Rousseau was awarded the Ordre des Palmes académiques ( Ordre des Palmes académiques ), the medal given to good educators. In fact, this was the government’s mistake in receiving the medal that another person with the same name should have received. The medal given to Rousseau was soon revoked. Rousseau, however, wore the medal’s symbol, a small purple rose, proudly worn on his lapel throughout his life.
Perhaps Rousseau’s lie was a means to protect his heart and endure the miserable reality. Like a child who believes in his own words, Rousseau seems to have believed his own lies. The important thing is that Rousseau did not let go of his brush despite all the difficulties.
finally recognized, andAs time passed, people with bright eyes who finally recognized Rousseau’s true worth began to appear one by one. Representative figures are Impressionist painters Camille Pissarro and Paul Gauguin. “There is truth. I have a future! The essence of painting is right here!” Gauguin is said to have admired Rousseau’s painting in 1905.
As France enjoyed prosperity (Belle Epoque) and an atmosphere encouraging new attempts spread, more and more people recognized Rousseau. “That person, even if he has an idiotic side, in some ways he’s really amazing. Even though you are being criticized like that, you draw pictures while keeping your own original way.” The fact that Rousseau’s drawing skills got better and better also contributed to the improvement of public opinion. Jungle paintings, in particular, were well received in the art world. Even though he had never been to the jungle before.
The most famous of his fans was Picasso. Picasso fell in love with Rousseau’s work, bought some paintings, and held a party for Rousseau. At this party, Rousseau, who was very excited, played a piece of his own creation on the violin. And then I told Picasso this. “The best painters of this era are you and me. I in art in general, you in Egyptian art.” I meant it in the sense that Picasso’s paintings at the time were a bit similar to the ancient Egyptian style, but there is also an idea that Picasso was one step below him. However, Picasso, who knew Rousseau’s naive and foolish personality, laughed it off cheerfully.
As he received recognition from the art world, orders for paintings began to increase. Still, Rousseau’s situation did not improve significantly. My sense of reality and business skills were sorely lacking. He lent his name to a disciple he taught in the past, and after being involved in some kind of cannon bank account fraud, he was found guilty and stood in court. The words of the defense attorney in the closing argument were, “Please save this naive artist”. In the meantime, Rousseau is said to have shouted loudly again without notice. “If I am convicted, it will be unfortunate not only for me but also for art itself!” It is very fortunate that he was released innocent.
His end came suddenly. Rousseau, who토토사이트 was immersed in his work without taking care of his health, suffered from septicemia and died in 1910 at the age of 66. The doctor diagnosed his illness as alcoholism. It was a misdiagnosis given to him after seeing him speak gibberish in shabby clothing. Rousseau’s remains are buried in a cemetery where the poor are buried.
To the land of happiness and innocenceIt was a sad end. This was all the more so considering the fact that a series of exhibitions were scheduled to shed light on Rousseau’s world of art. The year Rousseau passed away, his work was first introduced to American audiences at an exhibition in New York, and meaningful exhibitions continued after that. Books about Rousseau also began to be published.
Through this, artists who came across Rousseau’s life and work were deeply impressed. “It is the first time I have seen a picture like this. simple. Exotic. It’s like a child. it’s weird anyway and… Attractive.” They began to explore the secret of that ‘strange charm’. Wassily Kandinsky, a pioneer of abstract art, did, and surrealists, including René Magritte, did.
And finally, Rousseau has established himself as one of the most unusual masters in the long history of art. As a master of the ‘naive group’ who unleashed the artistry inherent in human beings in his own way without being influenced by anyone. Although poor, powerless, unlearned, and even immature, Rousseau seized a chance and achieved his dream of becoming a ‘great painter’. This was thanks to Rousseau’s incredible tenacity and sheer enthusiasm.The most important thing for Rousseau at the moment of painting was to show others the happy world of his imagination. The aspirations were truly enormous. It’s been over 100 years and transcends national borders, so it’s all visible to us now. The clumsy but strangely attractive color and shape of the painting, the mysterious world of fantasy unfolded in a way no one can follow, the figure of Rousseau, an innocent boy who tries hard to convey the impression he received while stuttering his words.