On San Marco, ‘Henri Rousseau – Archaic Naivety Exhibition’, is located in the Doge’s apartments of Palazzo Ducale, an incredible venue for a truly wonderful and fascinating show.
Nicknamed Le Douanier (the customs agent), Rousseau was actually a self-taught former toll collector, alternately admired, teased and beloved as he pursued establishing his art. Famous for his dreamlike atmospheres; forests and enchanted landscapes, Rousseau (Laval, 1844 – Paris, 1910), has always been impossible to pigeonhole. It is pointless to label his work, and interpretations of his work have most often been the result of a series of misunderstandings; and yet the force of his painting, snubbed by critics but appreciated by artists, is the expression of a phenomenon that has no comparison in art between the 19th and 20th century.
The exhibition displays how the artist was a point of reference for the great exponents of the historical avant-garde movements, for intellectuals like Apollinaire and Jarry, for great collectors like Wilhelm Uhde, and for many painters who preceded and and went beyond the Cubist season. Artist friends and contemporaries such as Cézanne, Gauguin, Redon and
Seurat, Marc, Klee, Morandi, Carrà, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, not to mention Delauney, Kandinsky and Picasso, are present in the show with works that fit in coherently with those painted by Le Douanier in his brief but intense creative season between 1884 and 1910