Rendez-Vous in the Forest 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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Rendezvous in the Forest was painted by Henri Rousseau in 1889 and is now owned by the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, USA. It is one of the few paintings by this artist to be found in the US but is not currently part of their permanent display.

The title captures perfectly the scene, with two lovers meeting in secret in a dense forest. Rousseau completed many jungle scenes during his career but the trees featured here, plus the attire of the two lovers, would suggest a more domestic setting somewhere in Europe. The detail of the leaves on the trees and the charming bending branches can be appreciated from the larger image which sits at the bottom of this page. Rendezvous in the Forest is not the most famous Henri Rousseau artwork, but still retains his typical charm which saturates much of his career.

At the back of the scene is a wide cloud which dominates the subdued sky. Down below it takes some time to make out the two figures, as they sit amongst a very dense series of trees. It is perhaps the yellow features on their outfits which first catch your eye, before the rest of the scene becomes clear. There is not the usual bright colours used by the artist in his jungle paintings, and thus the overall feeling in this one is darker and less upbeat.

The final thought that we are, of course, left with is who are these two people? And why have they chosen to meet in secret? Their outfits appear to have military connotations and perhaps we can link this to the period in which the artist completed this painting. As a lesser-known artwork within his career, these questions have remained unanswered.

Rendez-Vous in the Forest in Detail Henri Rousseau