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    Sale 7600

    Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale

    25 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 484

    Kees van Dongen (1877-1968)

    Bouquet de magnolias

    Price Realised  


    Kees van Dongen (1877-1968)
    Bouquet de magnolias
    signed 'van Dongen' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    25¾ x 19 5/8 in. (65.4 x 49.9 cm.)

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    Jacques Chalom des Cordes will include this painting in his forthcoming van Dongen catalogue raisonné being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Institute.

    Guillaume Apollinaire, along with van Dongen a leading member of the bande à Picasso that had formed in Montmartre at the turn of the century and went on to change the course of Western art in the years leading up to the First World War, commented on van Dongen in 1918: 'This colourist has, above all, drawn an acute excitement from electric lighting and has added to it the nuances. The result is an intoxication, a dazzle, a vibrancy, and the colour, holding fast to an extraordinary individuality, swoons, exalts itself, sails, grows dim, faints away, without ever clouding over the clarity of shade' (quoted in G. Diehl, Van Dongen, New York, 1988, p. 85).

    For van Dongen the subject matter before him, whether the erotic female form, an elaborate circus scene or a vibrant floral still-life, was only ever an excuse for his own exuberant explorations into colour and texture. 'In fact, the model, was for him only a pretext, a motif for his exaltation, a point of departure from which to transpose his vision lyrically, to introduce the deformations that he deemed necessary, to reconstruct the ensemble according to his needs. The person that he had drawn is presented above all as an admirable orchestration of colors, thanks to that surety of the eye that permitted van Dongen to balance, with such aptness, the very varied grays and greens - tones he gradually grew to prefer - lighted up by sulphurous yellows, seeded with touches of carmine or of cobalt at the center of the splendid deployment of whites or of blacks, relieved by the passages or the undertones of ochre and of earth-color' (op. cit., p. 87).

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