French, 1844-1910. Nicknamed Le Douanier, Henri Rousseau was one of the most celebrated native artists. Starting his career as a toll and tax collector, he served in the army and started painting as a hobby. Later, he took early retirement to dedicate all his time to painting. Although he was often ridiculed for his painting style, he did not change his style or work. Influenced by Bouguereau and Gerome, his innocent and charming work eventually won the admiration of the avant-garde. In 1908, his first although the unsuccessful solo exhibition was held. After his death, Rousseau’s primitive-style paintings were recognized and appreciated by early-20th-century modern artists such as René Magritte and Pablo Picasso.