This is one of the most emblematic works of a very peculiar artist: Henri Julien Felix Rousseau, also known by the nickname The Customs Officer Rousseau, because of the administrative position he held when he started painting at a mature age. Because Rousseau did not paint seriously until he was in his forties, and in fact he did not dedicate himself exclusively until he was 49 years old when he left his post in the administration.
The Cart of Old Junier de Rousseu
Henri Rousseau (1844 – 1910) except for a few exceptions, he was an artist that was practically underestimated in his time, and he also made that contempt in a certain funny way, given the freshness and ingenuity that radiate the works of this artist who was completely self-taught. This general mistreatment, except for certain artists, contrasts enormously with the value that his work reaches today.
During his lifetime, few characters of a certain level positively valued his work. Among those few were the writers Alfred Jarry who took him in during times of economic hardship and Guillaume Apollinaire. The latter wrote and described how much the critics had mocked El Aduadero's way of painting, and how he put up with it all, even though he was treated ridiculously at times and with rudeness. And Apollinaire said that all thosecritics no matter how sarcastic and harsh they were give value to the work of Henri Rousseau and that he himself the artist thought that.
As for his style, Rousseau is the prototype of thenaive artist. Naive in appearance, because the truth is that his work process was extraordinarily meticulous and slow. There is no improvisation, nor is it easy to paint like this. In fact, there are few works that he made in life.
And among that scarce production, one of his most emblematic canvases is this canvas en titled Old Junier's Wagon, which he painted in 1908, and which is currently exhibits in the rooms of the Musée de la Orangerie, located at one end of the famous Tuileries Gardens in Paris.
Precisely in that museum several of his works are preserved, and there you can see the whole range of themes that this painter made during his life, since in addition to scenes of daily life such as the one presented in this work, Rousseau also made other works dedicated to portraits or still lifes. However, within his work as a whole, a theme that has been the one that has most fascinated subsequent painters and artists is his peculiar landscapes, almost all of them allegorical and exotic, in fact, many of his canvases are peculiar tropical jungles that he never saw in person. However, he said that he loved going into greenhouses with this type of vegetation, because it seemed to him that he was entering a dream, and the truth is that this type of work has, apart from the naive tone, a certain air ofsurreal.