Pictures Around Cromer
Surprised!

Henri Rousseau

Rousseau's Tiger is on the west end of the cliff top path in Cromer

Surprised!

Henri Rousseau

You can find the tiger on the west cliff path towards the Runton Road car park

Rousseau, Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!)
Surprised!, 1891
Oil on canvas, 129.8 x 161.9 cm
Bought, with the aid of a substantial donation from the Hon. Walter H. Annenberg, 1972
© The National Gallery, London

Surprised! 1891

Henri Rousseau

Oil on canvas, 129.8 x 161.9 cm

A tiger crouches low in thick jungle foliage, its back arched and teeth bared. It is not entirely clear what is happening: is the tiger cowering from the flash of lightning, or is it stalking prey?

Surprised! was the first of around 20 ‘jungle’ paintings that Rousseau produced, which are among his most popular works. These jungles are entirely imaginary: Rousseau never left France, despite his claim that he had served with the French army in Mexico. The foliage is a mix of domestic house plants and tropical varieties, which he had seen at the Botanical Gardens in Paris.

Read more at NationalGallery.org.uk

Detail from Henri Rousseau, Self Portrait with a Lamp, 1902-3 Musée Picasso, Paris © RMN/René-Gabriel Ojéda 

Henri Rousseau

Rousseau was born at Laval and first worked as an inspector at a toll station on the outskirts of Paris (1871-85). From this his popular name ‘le douanier’ (the customs officer) is derived. He took seriously to painting after retirement and exhibited from 1886 at the Salon des Indépendants. He is best known for his jungle fantasy pictures, of which the Collection contains one example.

Read more at NationalGallery.org.uk

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