Acquired by the family of the present owners in the 1930s and thence by descent
Though he is often referred to as an untrained artist, Henri Rousseau put forth a sophisticated approach to representation in his paintings. Though La Seine à Suresnes is characterized by the childlike honesty of Rousseau's style, the work also presents a tactility of form that would become a beacon for future generations of artists - Picasso and Derain, for example would turn to Rousseau's example in the early stages of Cubism. The simplified geometries of the domestic structures, fortress and rolling hills in the present composition are indeed startling and their influence can be seen in art of the avant-garde. The contemporary critic Gustave Coquiot wrote that Rosseau had “such style, such inventiveness, such a rare deployment of qualities; and above all he offers such a love, such personal generosity, such a gift of his naked heart, such absence of falsehood, of insincerity, that we can rightly speak of Rousseau’s contribution to painting as both generous and unique” (quoted in Henri Rousseau (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1985, p. 37).
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