Artist biographies

Maurice de Vlaminck

Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958) initially earned a living as a violinist, music teacher and professional cyclist. Around 1893 he started to paint in a local artist’s studio. A chance meeting with André Derain on a train in 1900 inspired him and profoundly changed his life. Vlaminck and Derain became good friends and shared a studio in 1900-1. Both artists were extremely impressed with Van Gogh’s powerful brushstrokes and intense colours during a visit to an exhibition of the painter’s work at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune in 1901; both would subsequently experiment with Van Gogh’s expressive brushstrokes and use of separate daubs of paint to suggest movement.

Vlaminck exhibited work alongside Matisse, Derain and other artists at the 1905 Salon d’Automne. Vlaminck´s forceful use of colour and daring compositions made this virtually self-taught painter one of the leading figures in the Fauve movement. His work was soon discovered and bought by well-known art dealers such as Ambroise Vollard and Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. From 1907, however, his Fauve colours were replaced by a more tempered palette. A retrospective exhibition of Cézanne’s work in 1907 had a great influence on Vlaminck and inspired him to introduce more structure and order into his landscapes.

During the First World War the painter worked in a factory and began to write poetry. After the war he moved to the northwest of Paris and painted mainly rural scenes. Vlaminck was a versatile artist: in addition to paintings, prints and poems he produced ceramics and book illustrations and wrote his memoirs. He was also one of the first collectors of the African art which would exert such a great influence on developments in painting, in particular Cubism.

Maurice de Vlaminck, Réunion des Musées Nationaux

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Photo Janiek Dam

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