Henri Rousseau set the stage for surrealim. He groked on early popular mass culture. He was a naive abstractionist in presentation, and he took the material coming from the colonial france and turned it into dreams.
For better, but usually for worse, Rousseau lived in a time when the byproducts of French colonialism, aided by new means of mass reproduction, seem to have provided the folks back home with some of their most popular, titillating forms of entertainment. Wild beasts, people and adventures were depicted in pulp novels, postcards, photographs and tabloid magazines like Le Petit Journal, whose color covers depict, pre-Barnum and pre-Hollywood, a dazzling stream of rampaging tigers, damsels in distress, bloodthirsty natives and embattled explorers and animal trainers. Real animals could be seen in the city’s zoo... writes NYT's R.Smith, as National Gallery show opens.
This conflict of '1st' and third world of dream [with nobody on] was coming to a bad end. How would R. measure his dreamworld's muckening?