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Landscape with Watermill
  • Artist Henri Rousseau (French, 1844 - 1910)
  • TitleLandscape with Watermill
  • Dating 1879
  • Technique/MaterialOil on canvas
  • Dimensions32,5 x 55,5 cm
  • AcquisitionGift of Gustaf Werner, 1923
  • CategoryOil painting
  • Inventory NumberGKM 0735
  • Display StatusOn display in The French Collection II (Room 29)
Signatures etc.
Exhibition History
In the late nineteenth century, there was a growing interest in all that was untouched by so-called civilization. This »primitive« art, which aroused such great interest in Europe around 1900, embraced a concept of authenticity, originality, and naïvety that was difficult to define, which one imagined existed in a number of different non-European cultures perceived as primitive. But examples of the primitive could also be found much closer to home, in children’s pictures or untrained artists’ paintings. The customs officer Henri Rousseau’s paintings inspired many of the young artists in Pablo Picasso’s circle in Paris in the 1900s.

Rousseau began to paint in his spare time in about 1880. Eventually he left his job in French Customs and Excise to paint full time. A juvenile imagination and forms were his hallmark. He himself described his paintings as memories from a trip in his youth to the other side of the world, but it was a journey only in his imagination. Rousseau, who worked at one of Paris’s customs houses, collecting fees from peasants on their way to markets, had never been abroad. When his paintings were exhibited at the Salon, the general public mocked his art, but for many of the modernist pioneers his pictures came as a revelation. He eventually became the central figure in modern naïve art. Of approximately 150 known paintings by Rousseau, one of the very earliest is in the Gothenburg Museum of Art.

Per Dahlström from The Collection Gothenburg Museum of Art, Gothenburg 2014