Saturday, January 24, 2015

Kees van Dongen

Kees van Dongen (Dutch, 1877–1968) was a leading member of the controversial Fauves group, whose members included French artists Henri Matisse, Henri Emilien Rousseau, Robert Delaunay, and Edouard Vuillard. 
Known specifically for his portraiture, van Dongen painted sensuous and often garish representations of the fashionable French bourgeoisie, and the wealth that permitted their leisurely lifestyle. His subjects included Arletty, Leopold III of Belgium, Louis Barthou, Sacha Guitry, Anna de Noailles, and Paul Maurice Chevalier.
With a playful cynicism he remarked of his popularity as a portraitist with high society women, "The essential thing is to elongate the women and especially to make them slim. After that it just remains to enlarge their jewels. They are ravished." This remark is reminiscent of another of his sayings: "Painting is the most beautiful of lies"
From 1959, Kees van Dongen lived in Monaco. He died in his home in Monte Carlo in 1968.

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