Henri Rousseau, known as the Douanier, left his studies to join the army, where he found inspiration from the participants in the Mexican expedition. After seven years in the army, he took up a post at the Paris octroi office - an administration that collected taxes on certain goods at the entrance to the city - where he was given the nickname "Douanier". This is when he began to paint.
Through his particularly original paintings, mocked and characterised as naive by some, he gradually gained his place in the circle of artists. Totally self-taught, his style would later inspire Picasso and Léger, among others.Le Douanier Rousseau gained real recognition around 1905, when he was invited by the Fauvists to the Autumn Exhibition, where the quality of his compositions and the colours he used were particularly admired.