The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau

(2012)
The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau

 

In art, the adjective "naive" refers to producing art in "a simple, childlike style which deliberately rejects sophisticated techniques".  This short picture book tells the story of Henri Rousseau, who was considered to be one of France's naive artists.  He was a toll collector and started painting after the age of 40.  Because he couldn't afford art lessons, he taught himself how to paint.  He repeatedly put his work in exhibitions where the experts wrote mean things about his work.  Gradually though, he did develop a following among younger painters and avant-garde artists.   The book includes an author's note and an illustrator's note.  The watercolor and acrylic illustrations are vibrant, and reminiscent of the jungle pictures that Rousseau was fond of painting.  This book received starred reviews from Booklist, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly.  It is a fascinating brief peek into the life of an artist.

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