Henri Rousseau at Tate Modern
November 5, 2005 11:17 AM Subscribe
When Henri met Pablo. Wandering through the rue des Martyrs in 1908, Picasso stopped beside an upholstery shop. "A head peered out, the face of a woman, hard eyes, a penetrating look, decisiveness and clarity. The canvas was huge. I enquired about the price. 'A hundred sous,' replied the dealer. 'You can paint over it.' It was one of the truest portraits ever of the French psyche." Henri Rousseau's five-franc, life-size woman in Van Dyck black stayed at Picasso's side until his death, longer than any flesh-and-blood muse. A century later, she towers over us at Tate Modern's Rousseau retrospective as imperiously as a Velázquez monarch. More inside.
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