Kees van Dongen

6489-12, lIP-13072
Boris Lipnitzki / Roger-Viollet © Boris Lipnitzki / Roger-Viollet / Boris Lipnitzki
Corps de texte

Kees Van Dongen (his full name was Cornelis Théodorus Marie van Dongen) showed a talent for drawing as a child and went on to train at Rotterdam’s School of Decorative Arts. He arrived in Paris in July 1897 and spent a few poverty-stricken years in Montmartre before working for L’Assiette au Beurre and other satirical weeklies and making a name for himself through his caricatures.
His paintings finally attracted notice and he started to exhibit them in 1904, at the art dealer Ambroise Vollard’s gallery and the Salon des Indépendants. He met Maurice de Vlaminck and Henri Matisse and exhibited alongside them at the 1905 Autumn Salon, where their works’ vivid colors were at the origin of the name assigned to the so-called “Fauve” group of painters. He left Montmartre in 1912 and moved to the Montparnasse neighborhood, where his fauve period came to an end the following year.
In March 1918, the young art dealer Paul Guillaume mounted an exhibition of twenty-five of the artist’s recent paintings, announced by the poet and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire. After the First World War, Kees Van Dongen started on a career as an emblematic portraitist of Parisian society in the 1920s and 1930s. This was the real peak of his life as an artist, as is evidenced by the portrait of Paul Guillaume he painted in 1930, the only work by Van Dongen in the dealer’s collection.

View Kees van Dongen's work