A Corner of the Park at Bellevue, Autumn Sunset
Henri Rousseau, French, A Corner of the Park at Bellevue, Autumn Sunset, 1901, Oil on canvas; 61.6 x 50.8 cm (24 3/16 x 20 inches), Gift of Mrs. Henry D. Sharpe 77.114
In this view of a park on the outskirts of Paris, Henri Rousseau depicted a man heading into the woods toward a brilliantly colored sunset. Carefully drawn webs of trees and plants fill the image and cast shadows that envelop the figure. As night descends, the intense light of the sun between the lower branches softens to a rosy glow in the sky above. Rousseau was a self-trained artist who worked as a clerk in the customs office of the city of Paris. His naïve landscapes and portraits combined close observation of nature with surprising leaps of the imagination. Although he never traveled beyond France, he was able to create visions of mysterious environments from his experiences in local parks and zoos. His work attracted the admiration of Picasso and of other artists who saw in his homespun realist style a personal approach to the representation of both nature and emotional states.