The Dream (French: Le Rêve, occasionally also known as Le Songe or Rêve exotique) is a large oil-on-canvas painting created by Henri Rousseau in 1910, one of more than 25 Rousseau paintings with a jungle theme. His last completed work, it was first exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants from 18 March to 1 May 1910, a few months before his death on 2 September 1910.
Rousseau’s earlier works had received a negative reception, but poet and critic Guillaume Apollinaire remarked on its debut: “The picture radiates beauty, that is indisputable. I believe nobody will laugh this year.”
“When I am in these hothouses and see the strange plants from exotic lands, it seems to me that I am entering a dream.”
About his frequent visits to the National Museum of Natural History and Jardin des plantes.
André Kertész, The Lecturer, 1969-72
Henri Rousseau was self-taught and is considered to be a naïve or primitive painter. Although H. Rousseau completed more than twenty-five jungle paintings in his career, he never traveled outside France.
Henri Rousseau, La Bohémienne endormie / The Sleeping Gypsy, 1897
“A wandering Negress, a mandolin player, lies with her jar beside her (a vase with drinking water), overcome by fatigue in a deep sleep. A lion chances to pass by, picks up her scent yet does not devour her. There is a moonlight effect, very poetic. ”