• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7701

    Impressionist/Modern Art, Evening Sale

    4 February 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 7

    Kees van Dongen (1877-1968)

    La femme au collant vert

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Kees van Dongen (1877-1968)
    La femme au collant vert
    signed 'van Dongen.' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    21 5/8 x 18 1/8 in. (55 x 46 cm.)
    Painted in 1905


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    To be included in the forthcoming Kees van Dongen catalogue critique being prepared by Jacques Chalom Des Cordes under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Institute.



    La femme au collant vert dates from the height of Kees van Dongen's Fauve period. This picture, which remains unvarnished, shows the artist's fascination both with colour and with women, the predominant theme from this period onwards. While Van Dongen's friends and fellow Fauves, especially the group based around Chatou, were often preoccupied with landscape (as he had previously been), the Dutch-born painter, and thus the least French of them all, became the most Parisian, capturing scenes of the demi-monde in the French capital. Where the other Fauve artists used sunlight to bathe their scenes in natural wonder, Van Dongen deliberately painted his subjects at night. This was their time and their habitat, be they his friends, cabaret dancers, or women of questionable repute, and he took advantage of intense electric light to capture them with an intensity, as well as an upward glare that recalls, even in the confined surroundings of what appears to be a dressing room, stage lighting. The bright light, the vivid colours, the brushwork and in particular the halo-like effect of the area around the woman provide intriguing parallels with Van Dongen's later picture of the soprano Modjesko singing, a picture that is now in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In La femme au collant vert, Van Dongen's composition allows the artist great scope to explore his new-found colourism. In the background, the green of the woman's clothing is picked up alongside the plumage of her hat in a mirror reflection. The woman painted here appears to be preparing herself for one of the cabarets that Van Dongen frequented, and which were so popular in Montmartre. This picture dates from early in his depiction of the dancing halls, a motif that became fundamental throughout his Fauve phase. In 1908, he would even move into an apartment by the Folies Bergères in part to be closer to his favourite subjects.

    The almost acid colour of the green tight clothing that the woman is wearing in La femme au collant vert is thrust into relief by Van Dongen's use of blue outlines, which intensify the effect of the fields of colour. This is heightened again by the yellow of the floor and chair. These bold colours demonstrate why so many German Expressionists, especially those in Die Brücke movement, took an interest in Van Dongen's works. He first met Max Pechstein in Paris in 1907, two years after La femme au collant vert was painted, and within a short time had also exhibited in Dresden. This was the period of the beginning of his links with Germany and in particular the German Expressionists, and these links would become stronger over the coming years, allowing Van Dongen's influence, both in terms of his bold palette and his love of female subjects, to blossom. It was from his earlier Fauve works such as La femme au collant vert that the Expressionists appear to have taken some inspiration, enlivening their own range of colours.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Galerie Kahnweiler, Paris (no. 221).
    Anonymous sale, Palais Galliéra, Paris, 19 June 1962, lot 23 (illustrated on the cover).
    Acquired at the above sale by the family of the present owner.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE FRENCH COLLECTION


    Literature

    J.-L. Ferrier, Les Fauves, Le règne de la couleur, Paris, 2001.
    Exh. cat., Kees van Dongen, Salle d'expositions du Quai Antoine-Ier, Monaco, 2008 (illustrated p. 206, fig. 45, dated 'circa 1909').


    Exhibited

    Paris, Musée national d'Art moderne, Van Dongen, October - November 1967, no. 34 (illustrated, dated 'circa 1905-1907'); this exhibition later travelled to Rotterdam, Musée Boymans-Van Beuningen, December - January 1968.
    Saint-Tropez, Musée de l'Annonciade, Kees van Dongen 1877-1968, July - September 1985, no. 9 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Toulouse, Réfectoire des Jacobins, October - November 1985.
    Paris, Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris, Van Dongen, Le Peintre, 1877-1968, March - June 1990 (illustrated p. 111).
    Martigny, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Kees van Dongen, January - June 2002, no. 22 (illustrated p. 57).