Kees Van Dongen

Kees Van Dongen is a Dutch-born French painter and printmaker known for his distinctive Fauvist portraits and expressionist paintings. He was born on 1877, in Delfshaven near Rotterdam, where he will later study Fine Arts at the Royal Academy. He arrived in Paris on 1897 and settled in Montmartre district. He first started living as a house painter, an illustrator for satirical papers and a café artist but soon he was able to make a living out his paintings. He met Henri Matisse in his first years in Paris and adopted the Fauve style of painting in bright colors and broad strokes. He quickly became one of the key figures of the Fauvist movement. In 1905 he exhibited with Henri Matisse, Maurice de Vlaminck and Andre Derain at the famous Salon d’Automne. It was as a member of the Fauvism movement and later as one of the German Expressionist group Die Brucke that Kees van Dongen truly achieved fame. His paintings are dominated by an extreme sensitivity. To the artist, the very act of painting was in itself like quenching a carnal desire. Indicative of his work is the intense use of color, which increased the expressiveness of his paintings. Van Dongen is best known for his sensuous female portraits. He also produced paintings of women, nudes, dancers and society portraits. Van Dongen always remain faithful to a somewhat violent chromatic style remaining from his Fauvist years. He famously described the female body as "the most beautiful landscape". Van Dongen's paintings of women, dancers and nudes are composed of rich, vivid colors and bold outlines. The simplified forms and emotional distortions were used to express his passionate involvement with contemporary life in Paris. His style became simpler after 1918 and more realistic, although he continued to use vivid colors in his portraits. It is at this time that Van Dongen became a popular society painter. Nowadays, Van Dongen’s work can be found all around the world in public and private collections.

  • Masters of Distinction

    Masters of Distinction


    September 16, 2016 - October 16, 2016