Portrait of Leon-Paul Fargue Henri Rousseau Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Portrait of Leon Paul Fargue was an oil on canvas painting by Henri Rousseau in 1896. It is a portrait of a person standing in front of a window, as shown by the maroon curtain pulled behind him.

On the side of the window is what looks like a valley and extends to the other side of the ridge. The viewer can see buildings down the hill to the other side. On the furthest end of the painting are multi-story buildings and what looks like a communication mast. In front of the multi-storey building is a train that is moving to the right. The viewers can see a while of smoke from the steam engine.

The gentleman wears a three-piece purple jacket with a suede touch. He also wears a white shirt with a tie loosely tied at the collar. Besides, he holds a pipe, an indication that he was smoking a while ago. This gentleman has a somewhat blocky face with a bushy moustache and a goatee that extends beyond the chin. His hair is also well-kempt. From the look of the portrait, viewers can immediately tell that the gentleman is a member of a wealthy family or a well-paid worker. His decent dressing, charming demeanour and background show he is well place as a businessperson.

This was a self-portrait of Léon-Paul Fargue. Leon-Paul was a renowned French poet and essayist that was known for some famous literary works. At the time of the painting, he was about 20 years of age. This works well with the painting, which shows an energetic person.

Style of the Painting

The style of painting that has been employed in creating this image is primitivism. This style of art provides an aesthetic idealization that aspires to give a realistic, natural experience. The idea was to show that ordinary people were more civilised than the nobles in the society were and therefore showed them in good light.

However, Henri borrowed heavily from post-impressionism. This was a form of art where the painter strived to use realistic colours and light to depict real-life-like objects in the painting. However, the painter was at liberty to change some colours and items on the image to create the desired effect.

A combination of the two styles enabled the user to create a realistic image of Leon-Paul Fargue, down to the tone of the skin and moustache. It has a smooth flow of ideas and items in the portrait. He was also keen on using light to create a natural tone while ensuring that the image looked real. Overall, it is a perfect self-portraiture of a man with all features intact. Other significant artworks from Rousseau's career included Football Players and Merry Jesters.