La Fabrique de chaises

Henri Rousseau
La Fabrique de chaises
vers 1897
huile sur toile
H. 38 ; L. 46 cm avec cadre H. 66,5 ; L. 75 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée de l'Orangerie) / Franck Raux
Henri Rousseau (1844 - 1910)

In this small version, the landscape, and in particular the sky, is given greater prominence. Although the characters in front of the factory are merely token figures, the building seems to be on the same scale as the other buildings.
This version looks more natural and spontaneous than the larger version, which was probably exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants in 1897. Unlike the other painting, the lines of the building are more sinuous and those of the riverbanks and road less stylised. The absence of any chimneys is notable as, according to the postcards of the time, they were certainly a feature of the landscape in Alfortville. Here they are replaced by trees, probably to bring more of the natural world into the painting. By comparing two representations of the same location, we can see to what extent Rousseau recomposed his landscapes.