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Kees van Dongen

(Dutch/French, 1877-1968)

Cavaliers dans les bois

oil on canvas
41 x 33 cm (16⅛ x 13 in.)
signed 'van Dongen’ (lower left)

Madame Boris Kniaseff
Knoedler & Co, New York (acquired from the above on 30 July 1953) (stock no. A 5405)
J. H. Griffin (acquired from the above on 4 November 1953)
Sale: Galerie Charpentier Paris, 8 December 1959, lot 27 (illustrated pl. X, titled Les Cavaliers au Bois de Boulogne)
Private collection, France
Private collection, France (bequeathed by the above)
Thence by descent

This work will be included in the forthcoming Van Dongen Digital Catalogue Raisonné, currently being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc.

Following his successful debut with Galerie Vollard in 1904 and participation at the Salon d’Automne the year after, it was only natural that van Dongen’s career continued to progress rapidly throughout 1906. Already acquainted with Andre Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck, van Dongen also held a studio with neighbour, Pablo Picasso at Le Bateau-Lavoir: a popular rendez-vous for creatives in the heart of Montmartre. It was during this period that van Dongen delved further into Fauvism from Pointillism and developed a personal style which differentiated him from his peers.

The present work demonstrates van Dongen’s signature use of bright Fauve colours with earthy undertones. Although the blurred edges release the subjects from the restrains of realism, the route to total abstraction is diverted by the use of a few block colours to help distinguish one subject from another.


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