I first saw his work in Paris as a teenager, but it wasn't until I picked up and moved to NYC in my early twenties that I had my first face-to-face experience with The Dream, and a visceral reaction to this painting that I will always remember. The forest, which Rousseau had never visited, appealed to me as no other landscape ever had, and the scale was fantastic. But it was the dream that captured me, not the dreamer; those haunting eyes that greeted me every day when I slipped into MOMA on my lunch break. I could never shake off the need to stare back at those beautiful, mysterious yellow and black eyes of that musical ape.
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