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The Wedding Party

Henri RousseauCirca 1905

Musée de l'Orangerie

Musée de l'Orangerie

The composition is one of the most ambitious ever undertaken by Rousseau, consisting of a large-sized group portrait, in which each face is indivi¬dualized, placed before a group of trees whose species are all meticulously differentiated.

As in Old Man Junier's Trap, the cut-out figure of a dog occupies the foreground. The trees recede sharply because of their arrangement and the decreasing sizes of the trunks and leaves, as if Rousseau had sought to break away from the conventional painted backdrops that were customarily placed behind groups photographed in studio interiors. On the other hand, these immobile figures are purposefully presented simplistically, on a single plane, in the form of flat silhouettes devoid of depth, in an arrangement somewhat reminiscent of Manet's The Balcony with which Rousseau was familiar (in the Manet painting, there is also a dog in the foreground).

X-ray examination has disclosed several major alterations: originally, the grandmother's dress, on the right, extended as far as the dog, and the bridal veil was painted over the other already completed figures.

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  • Title: The Wedding Party
  • Date Created: Circa 1905
  • Provenance: Walter-Guillaume Collection
  • Physical Dimensions: w1140 x h1630 mm
  • Painter: Henri Rousseau, dit le Douanier
  • Original Title: La Noce
  • Type: Oil on canvas
  • Rights: © RMN (Musée de l'Orangerie) / Hervé Lewandowski

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