Jungles in Paris, a major retrospective of the work of Henri Rousseau was an exhibition I sadly missed in 2006. It is some brief extracts from his biography I paraphrase below.
His canvas’s sold in the Paris markets really thought of as something to be painted over, consequently one assumes for no money at all. He supplemented his small income with part time jobs and by playing the violin on the streets. It was the young Spaniard Picasso who started buying his pictures and thus drew him into his group of friends.
Apollinaire wrote his epitaph. Brancusi carved it on a tombstone.
‘We salute you gentle Rousseau you can hear us…
Let our luggage pass duty free through the gate of heaven
We will bring you brushes, paints and canvas
That you may spend your sacred leisure in the Light of Truth and Painting
As you did my portrait facing the stars.’