In 1893, Rousseau moved to a studio in Montparnasse where he lived and worked until his death in 1910. During 1897 he produced one of his most famous paintings, La Bohémienne endormie (The Sleeping Gypsy). During 190, a large jungle scene ‘The Hungry Lion Throws Itself on the Antelope’ was exhibited at the Salon des Independants near works by younger leading avant-garde artists such as Henri Matisse in what is now seen as the first showing of The Fauves. Henri Rousseau's painting may even have influenced the naming of the Fauves.
In 1907 he was commissioned by artist Robert Delaunay's mother, Berthe, Comtesse de Delaunay, to paint The Snake Charmer. When Pablo Picasso happened upon a painting by Henri Rousseau being sold on the street as a canvas to be painted over, the younger artist instantly recognized Rousseau's genius and went to meet him. Henri Rousseau died 2 September 1910 in the Hospital Necker in Paris.
Henri Rousseau always claimed he had "no teacher other than nature", although he admitted he had received "some advice" from two established Academic painters, Felix Auguste-Clément and Jean-Leon Gerome. Essentially he was self-taught and is considered to be a naive or primitive painter.
"It has been for M. Rousseau as for all innovators. He proceeds from himself alone, he has the merit, rare today, of being absolutely personal... what an obsession, what a nightmare! What a powerful impression of insurmountable sadness! One would have to be of bad faith to dare to pretend that the man capable of suggesting ideas like these is not an artist." Louis Roy in the 'Mercure de France', 1895