Kees Van Dongen

 

Artist Biography:

Kees van Dongen was born on January 1, 1877, in Delfshaven near Rotterdam. Early in his artistic endeavours, he was inspired by the Impressionists and influenced by their style. Van Dongen studied at the academy of Rotterdam but did not finish his studies there. He earned his livelihood working for the magazines "Groene" and "Rotterdam Neusblad." His racy drawings of life around the harbour were published with great scandal. In 1897, he went to Paris, where he lived in Bateau-Lavoir. There he worked as an illustrator for "Revoue Blanche" and "L'assiette au Beurre." In 1903, van Dongen exhibited his works publicly for the first time, and later he showed with Matisse in the Vollard Gallery. The Dutch painter became associated with the group "Fauves" (wild beasts) in 1905. Nonetheless, his affinity for the German Expressionists can be recognized in his works. Indicative of his work is the intense use of colour, which increased the expressiveness of his paintings. In 1908, he became a member of the group of German Expressionists "Die Brücke" (the Bridge) and exhibited with them. At the end of World War I, van Dongen was discovered by the upper class. He then painted many portraits, becoming a chronicler of the 1920's and 1930's. His expressive portraits, likenesses, and landscapes received much appreciation and achieved success through his unique colouring. Kees van Dongen died on May 28, 1968, in Monte Carlo.

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