• Photo of Rousseau's grave with poem by Apollinaire

    Rousseau’s grave with poem by Apollinaire
    Translation of the inscription:
    We greet you
    Gentle Rousseau, you hear us
    Delaunay his wife Monsieur Quával and I
    Let our baggage pass free through heaven’s gate
    We’ll bring you brushes, paints and canvases
    So that you can devote your sacred leisures
    In the Real light to painting, as you did my portrait,
    Painting the Face of the stars.
    Guillaume Apollinaire 1912

    Photo: Cliché Musée de Vieux-Château, Laval

The poet, writer and critic Guillaume Apollinaire was an influential figure in early twentieth-century artistic circles. For the last few years of Rousseau’s life, Apollinaire was one of his staunchest supporters, and wrote in praise of his work. In 1910, shortly before Rousseau exhibited his last great painting The Dream 1910, he appealed to Apollinaire: ‘You will unfold your literary talent and avenge me for all the insults and abuse I have experienced.’

Rousseau made two versions of this double portrait of Apollinaire with his mistress Marie Laurencin. He grandly titled it The Muse Inspiring the Poet 1909.

Henri Rousseau - The Muse Inspiring the Poet second version 1909

Henri Rousseau
The Muse Inspiring the Poet
second version 1909

Basel, Õffentliche Kunstsammlung, Kunstmuseum Basel. Photo: akg-images/Erich Lessing