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Art and Images in Psychiatry |

The Dream Henri Rousseau

James C. Harris, MD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Developmental Neuropsychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Psychiatry. 2013;70(10):1004-1006. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.2011.
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In late November 1908, Pablo Picasso hosted a legendary dinner to honor Henri Rousseau (1844-1910).1,2 Rousseau, a post-Impressionist artist who painted in the naive manner, reveled in the attention and conviviality of the evening (first epigraph) and felt vindicated after enduring years of sarcasm and ridicule. About 30 guests, mostly in their 20s, among them Georges Braque, the sculptor Constantin Brâncuși, and Gertrude and Leo Stein, squeezed into Picasso’s small studio in Montmartre to celebrate this event, long-known afterwards as the Banquet Rousseau. Picasso (1881-1973) had met Rousseau on his first visit to Paris 8 years earlier but showed little interest in him until his chance discovery of Rousseau’s Portrait of a Woman. The painting so captivated Picasso that it was prominently displayed at the banquet that was organized, in part, to celebrate its acquisition. Picasso found it to be one of the most truthful of all French psychological portraits.3 He had purchased it for 5 francs at a bric-a-brac shop in Montmartre, and he valued it so much that it remained with him in his private collection for the rest of his life.3

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Henri Rousseau (1844-1910), French. The Dream, 1910. Oil on canvas, 204.5 × 298.5 cm (6 ft 8½ in × 9 ft 9½ in). Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York. US photo credit: Digital Image. The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, New York.




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