Portrait of Mr. X (Pierre Loti)

Henri Rousseau1906

Kunsthaus Zürich

Kunsthaus Zürich
Zurich, Switzerland

The satirist Georges Courteline had acquired the painting from Rousseau in 1906 and incorporated it as a curiosity into his 'Musée des Horreurs' - a collection of scurrilities and Sunday paintings. In the German edition of his Rousseau monograph in 1914, Wilhelm Uhde published the picture, which was now in the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Collection in Berlin, under the title 'Portrait of Mr. X (Pierre Loti)'. The naval officer, poet and travel writer Loti, actually Julien Viaud, lived from 1850 to 1923; in his popular books he updated the myth of the exotic. Both Gauguin and probably Rousseau were among his many readers. The identity of the sitter as well as the temporal position of the present 'portrait-paysage', which stylistically belongs to the painter's last years, are not completely clarified. Since Edmond-Achille Frank, a Parisian 'homme des lettres', claimed to have recognized himself in it in 1952, it has been difficult to distinguish precisely between facts and assumptions at the present state of research.


  • Title: Portrait of Mr. X (Pierre Loti)
  • Creator: Henri Rousseau
  • Creator Lifespan: 1844 – 1910
  • Creator Death Place: Paris, France
  • Creator Birth Place: Laval (Mayenne), France
  • Date Created: 1906
  • Physical Dimensions: 61 x 50 cm
  • Type: painting
  • External Link: Kunsthaus Zürich, Online Collection
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Art Movement: Naïve art
  • Original title: Portrait de Monsieur X (Pierre Loti)
  • Inventory number: 2508
  • Credit line: Kunsthaus Zürich, 1940

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