The poet, writer and critic Guillaume Apollinaire was an influential figure in early twentieth-century artistic circles. For the last few years of Rousseau's life, Apollinaire was one of his staunchest supporters, and wrote in
praise of his work. In 1910, shortly before Rousseau exhibited his last great painting The Dream 1910, he appealed to Apollinaire: 'You will unfold your literary talent and avenge me for all the
insults and abuse I have experienced.'
Rousseau made two versions of this double portrait of Apollinaire with his mistress Marie Laurencin. He grandly titled it The Muse Inspiring the Poet 1909.
Rousseau's grave with poem by Apollinaire (Translation of the inscription):
We greet you
Gentle Rousseau, you hear us
Delaunay his wife Monsieur Quaval and I
Let our baggage pass free through heaven's gate
We'll bring you brushes, paints and canvases
So that you can devote your sacred leisures
In the Real light to painting, as you did my portrait,
Painting the Face of the stars.
Guillaume Apollinaire 1912