Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958)

Biography

Maurice de Vlaminck was born April 4, 1876 in Paris, France. His parents were both musicians of talent, although neither of them were well-known. Vlaminck began to draw while in elementary school and neglected his studies for his sketches. However, as he grew up he showed talent as a violinist and as a champion bicycle rider, consequently he did not decide to become a painter until 1900 when he met the successful artist Andre Derain.

In 1905 Vlaminck first exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants. His experimentation with pure, intense colour applied in thick daubs earned him a strong association with Fauvism along with Matisse and Derain. However, by 1908 he had turned to painting landscapes of thickly applied whites, grays, and deep blues, and his style moved closer to that of Paul Cézanne. Vlaminck soon began to develop a personal, strongly stated style that placed him solidly in the realm of French Expressionism.

Around 1909, Vlaminck experimented with Cubist constructions in his landscapes and still lifes and showed a preference in his palette for the pure whites and blues that are often found in his later works. After 1915, his palette became cooler and at the same time more dramatic in intensity as he began to paint strong, stormy landscapes, overcast skies, lonely villages, and more earthy, humanitarian still life's in a more solid but still turbulent style. He remained resolutely apart from all trends of contemporary art after his brief adventure into Cubism and found in his return to nature a realistic outlet for his early Fauve passion.

In 1935 Vlaminck retired to a large farm, La Tourilliere, near Beauce. Here he occupied himself with agriculture, as had his Flemish ancestors, and continued to paint deeply felt still life's and sensitive landscapes that show an almost religious love of nature, the land, and its products.

Vlaminck is known today as one of the great artists of Fauvism. He died aged 82 on October 11, 1958.