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The Sleeping Gypsy

Henri Rousseau

The Sleeping Gypsy

Henri Rousseau
  • Date: 1897
  • Style: Naïve Art (Primitivism)
  • Genre: genre painting
  • Media: oil, canvas
  • Tag: animals, lions, gypsies, leisure-and-sleep
  • Dimensions: 200.7 x 129.5 cm
  • Order Oil Painting
    reproduction

Rousseau described the subject of The Sleeping Gypsy: “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.” A toll collector for the city of Paris, Rousseau was a largely self-taught painter, although he had ambitions of entering the Academy. This goal was never realized, but his sharp colors, fantastic imagery, and precise outlines—derived from the style and subject matter of popular print culture— struck a chord with a younger generation of avant-garde painters, including Pablo Picasso, Vasily Kandinsky, and Frida Kahlo.

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The Sleeping Gypsy (French: La Bohémienne endormie) is an 1897 oil painting by French Naïve artist Henri Rousseau (1844–1910). It is a fantastical depiction of a lion musing over a sleeping woman on a moonlit night.

Rousseau first exhibited the painting at the 13th Salon des Indépendants, and tried unsuccessfully to sell it to the mayor of his hometown, Laval. Instead, it entered the private collection of a Parisian charcoal merchant where it remained until 1924, when it was discovered by the art critic Louis Vauxcelles. The Paris-based art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler purchased the painting in 1924, although a controversy arose over whether the painting was a forgery. It was acquired by art historian Alfred H. Barr Jr. for the New York Museum of Modern Art.

Rousseau described his painting as follows: "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."

This is a part of the Wikipedia article used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). The full text of the article is here →


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