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Artists’ Birthdays: April the 4th – Maurice de Vlaminck (1876)

April 4, 2012

Today’s post is about one of the “wild beasts” or in other words a fauvist (a post about fauvism can be found here), an artist that can’t remain unknown. I might have said it before, but I’d really love to paint like that… Paintings that sometimes seem sweeter than candies, where colours move and you can feel that right here art and music meet each other.

Maurice de Vlaminck (4 April 1876 – 11 October 1958) was a French painter. Along with André Derain and Henri Matisse he is considered one of the principal figures in the Fauve movement, a group of modern artists who from 1904 to 1908 were united in their use of intense color.

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Maurice de Vlaminck (1876 - 1958)

Maurice de Vlaminck was born in Paris to a family of musicians. He was three years old when his family moved from Paris to Vésinet. He first pursued the same musical career as his parents – his father taught him to play the violin and he left his home in 1892 as a trained double-bass player. Maurice de Vlaminck moved to Chatou near Versailles. He began painting in his late teens and in 1893 he studied with a painter named Henri Rigalon on the Ile de Chatou. In 1894 he married Suzanne Berly.

The turning point in his life was a chance meeting on the train to Paris towards the end of his stint in the army. Vlaminck, then 23, met an aspiring artist, André Derain, with whom he struck up a lifelong friendship. When Vlaminck completed his army service in 1900, the two rented a studio together for a year before Derain left to do his own military service. In 1902 and 1903 he wrote several mildly pornographic novels illustrated by Derain. He painted during the day and earned his livelihood by giving violin lessons and performing with musical bands at night.

Maurice de Vlaminck - Tugboat on the Seine, Chatou, 1906

In 1911, Vlaminck traveled to London and painted by the Thames. In 1913, he painted again with Derain in Marseille and Martigues. In World War I he was stationed in Paris, and began writing poetry. Eventually he settled in the northwestern suburbs of Paris.

Maurice de Vlaminck - The Locks at Bougival, 1908

He married his second wife, Berthe Combes, with whom he had two daughters. From 1925 he traveled throughout France, but continued to paint primarily along the Seine, near Paris. A practiced story teller, Vlaminck wrote many autobiographies, marred little either by lack of confidence or adherence to the truth.

Vlaminck died in Rueil-la-Gadelière on 11 October 1958.

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Two of Vlaminck’s groundbreaking paintings, Sur le zinc (At the Bar) and L’homme a la pipe (Man Smoking a Pipe) were painted in 1900.

Maurice de Vlaminck - At the Bar, 1900

Sur le zinc (At the Bar) called to mind the work of Toulouse-Lautrec and his portrayals of prostitutes and solitary drinkers, but does not attempt to probe the sitter’s psychology—a break with the century-old European tradition of individualized portraiture. According to art critic Souren Melikian, it is “the impersonal cartoon of a type”.

In his landscape paintings, Vlaminick’s approach was similar. He ignored the details, with the landscape becoming a mere excuse to express mood through violent color and brushwork. An example is Sous bois, painted in 1904.

Maurice de Vlaminck - The Orchard, 1905

The following year, he began to experiment with “deconstruction,” turning the physical world into dabs and streaks of color that convey a sense of motion. His paintings Le Pont de Chatou (The Chatou Bridge), Les Ramasseurs de pommes de terre (The Potato Pickers), La Seine a Chatou (The River Seine at Chatou) and Le Verger (The Orchard) exemplify this trend.

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Information found on Wikipedia and

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 4, 2012 9:58 am

    thanks for this, yummy thick brush strokes and lovely paint texture!

  2. April 4, 2012 1:35 pm

    Thank you! What a great way to start the day !!

  3. April 5, 2012 3:06 pm

    Thanks for your kind comments on my blog. I have enjoyed visiting you too and feel warmed by the wonderfully “gutsy” paintings in this post. “Gutsy” was a word favoured by my art tutor when describing certain painterly qualities.

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