Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958)
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Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958)

Le moulin de Valmondois

Details
Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958)
Le moulin de Valmondois
signed 'Vlaminck' (lower left)
oil on canvas
35 x 45½ in. (88.8 x 115.7 cm.)
Provenance
Acquired by the mother of the present owner in the early 1950s, and thence by descent.
Exhibited
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, L'oeuvre de Vlaminck du fauvisme à nos jours, 1956.
Special notice

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Lot Essay

Maïthé Vallès-Bled and Godeliève de Vlaminck will include this painting in their forthcoming Vlaminck catalogue raisonné being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Institute.

Although born in Paris, Vlaminck spent much of his life in the French countryside north west of Paris. In 1892 at the age of sixteen, he moved to Chatou, where his wild experimentation with colour alongside his friend André Derain led to it becoming the setting of many of his Fauve paintings. However, by 1907, Vlaminck became increasingly dissatisfied artistically and sought an alternative through the work of Cézanne exhibited at the Salon d'Automne in 1907. The two rooms there devoted to a retrospective of Cézanne's work had a profound influence on the young artist, in particular, the notion of building form through careful planar construction. In Le moulin de Valmondois, it is clear that the 'ordered sensations' of Cézanne offered Vlaminck a more structured approach and a convincing alternative to the perceived formlessness of Fauve landscapes. Furthermore, the dynamic brushwork and increasingly naturalistic use of blues, greens and ochres, which characterized his post-Fauvist work, also recalls Cézanne's palette.
Following a successful exhibition at Galerie Druet in Paris in 1919, Vlaminck was able to afford a new house in Valmondois, where he lived until 1925. Van Gogh had died nearby about twenty years earlier and it is thought that this artistic connection attracted Vlaminck to the area. Indeed, he readily acknowledged the importance of the Dutch artist, whose paintings he first saw in an exhibition at Bernheim-Jeune in 1901. 'In him I found some of my own aspirations,' Vlaminck recalled, 'and as well as a revolutionary fervor an almost religious feeling for the interpretation of nature' (quoted in exh. cat. The Fauve Landscape, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1990, p. 2l). Vlaminck reveled in the artistic potential of the lush countryside in Northern France, the chief source of artistic inspiration for the remainder of his career. His love of nature and his preoccupation with form and structure are clearly manifest in Le moulin de Valmondois, where his interest in intense colourism is uncompromised. The dark, blue foreboding sky expressively described in broad brushstrokes contrasts with the bright white facades of the buildings and the reflective quality of the river, a harmonious composition held together by the strong verticals of the dark barren trees in the foreground.

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