Developments in the 19th Century


Art Styles in 19th century - Art Map





(Between Romanticism and Expressionism)


Kees Van Dongen

(1877- 1968)



Kees Van Dongen

(Encyclopaedia Britannica)


In full CORNELIS THEODORUS MARIE VAN DONGEN, Dutch-born French painter, one of the leading Fauvists after Henri Matisse, particularly renowned for his sensuously rendered portraits of women.

Van Dongen exhibited artistic leanings early in his youth. He attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Rotterdam and moved to Paris at the age of 20. In the bohemian atmosphere of the Montmartre district, he worked as a house painter, an illustrator for satirical papers, and a café artist.

Having made the acquaintance of Matisse, he participated in 1905 in the famous Salon d'Automne, at which the Fauve (Wild Beast) group was given its epithet. In 1907 he was contracted by Daniel Henry Kahnweiler, the dealer of Picasso, and his reputation grew.

In 1908 he was invited to join the German Expressionist group Die Brücke (The Bridge), centred at the time in Dresden. Van Dongen's candid, colouristic portrait style was immensely fashionable by the end of World War I. The figure of the thin, red-lipped, unmistakably aristocratic woman (as in "Woman with Jewels," 1905) became his rather chilling archetype. His portrait of Anatole France (1917) is particularly notable. He also painted numerous richly coloured seascapes and scenes of Paris in an assured, economical style.




b Delfshaven, nr Rotterdam, 26 Jan 1877; d Monte Carlo, 28 May 1968).

French painter and printmaker of Dutch birth. He took evening classes in geometric drawing from 1892 to 1897 at the Akademie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Rotterdam. In 1895 he began working intermittently for the newspaper Rotterdamsche Nieuwsblad, for which he made, among other things, a series of bright watercolour drawings of Rotterdam’s red-light district and illustrations of Queen Wilhelmina’s coronation. Van Dongen’s first paintings used dark tones in imitation of Rembrandt, who remained the most important model for his work; his later book on Rembrandt was, in fact, a projection of his own life. By the mid-1890s he was using more vivid contrasts of black and white, for example in Spotted Chimera (1895; priv. col.), his palette soon becoming brighter and his line more animated. In Le Muet Windmill (1896; priv. col.), a red ochre monochrome painting, he successfully enlivened the colour by means of broad, energetic brushstrokes.

Self Portrait
La Reusside
Portrait of a Woman
Femme Fatale
Champs Elysees

Woman in Green Panty

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