The Chair Factory at Alfortville

La fabrique de chaises à Alfortville

Here, Rousseau presents a landscape portrait of a chair factory. Having chosen a building that interested him because it was so unusual, he makes it the focus of his composition. The building is oversized in relation to the rest of the landscape, and particularly in relation to the figures. These seem to serve as simple punctuation marks in the composition. Rousseau often includes this distortion of scale in his landscapes. Using a technique similar to that used by medieval artists, Rousseau accentuates what is important to him in the painting.
The buildings in this version have very rigid lines that counterbalance the very measured curves of the road and of the bank of the Seine.
This image of an ordinary urban landscape is large scale, which was very unusual in Rousseau’s series of paintings of the Paris suburbs. This is probably the version that was presented at the Salon des Indépendants in 1897.

Provenance: Paul Guillaume (1931); Domenica Walter