Kees van Dongen (1877-1968)
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VA… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Kees van Dongen (1877-1968)

Femme en bleu au collier rouge

Kees van Dongen (1877-1968)
Femme en bleu au collier rouge
signed 'van Dongen' (lower left)
oil on canvas
21 5/8 x 18 1/8 in. (55 x 46 cm.)
Painted in Paris between 1907 and 1911
Mme R.L. Leroy, Paris, by 1967.
Acquired by the family of the present owners circa 1970 and thence by descent.
D. Ottavioli, 'Les femmes de van Dongen', in Paris Match, 6 December 1985 (illustrated).
Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Van Dongen, October - November 1967, no. 74 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Rotterdam, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, December 1967 - January 1968.
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.
Sale room notice
Please note that this painting is to be included in the forthcoming Kees van Dongen catalogue raisonné being prepared by Jacques Chalom des Cordes under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Institute.

Lot Essay

Kees van Dongen was often associated with the Fauves, and in Femme en bleu au collier rouge one can see the similarities between his works and those of, say, Vlaminck and Derain in the bold fields of colour, especially in the blue which fills so much of the canvas. Yet also at play is a gentle and discreet colourism at work in this painting, as is seen especially in the modulated tones of the olive-tinted skin of her face. This adds a delicacy to the picture which is emphasised by the wistful gaze of the woman herself. Van Dongen has masterfully used the red of the woman's necklace and lips as well as the yellows of the landscape outdoors, restricted to a glimpse in the upper right extreme of the blue-bathed canvas, in order to increase the sense of coolness and shade that is conveyed in this interior. In the composition and colourism of Femme en bleu au collier rouge, there is a hint of Matisse, while the figure of the woman appears to owe more, in terms of atmosphere, to the contemplative world of Chardin.

In terms of dress, of the liberated palette with which Femme en bleu au collier rouge has been painted and the indications of the section of landscape, with the hat-wearing man and his donkey, this picture seems to show the influence of Van Dongen's revelatory 1910 journey to Spain and Morocco. While travelling, he executed numerous sketches, and on his return to Paris created masterpieces condensing his memories and impressions in oils. These pictures showed to what extent he had been enthralled by both the exoticism of those countries for Van Dongen was a great chronicler of the exotic, the erotic, the sensuous, inhabiting the Paris demi-monde and revelling in its antics. In addition, Van Dongen's journey resulted in another epiphany, prompted by the Mediterranean light. This encouraged him to lighten his palette. It is this light that appears to fill Femme en bleu au collier rouge with its glow, despite the fact that it shows a largely shaded area. It is therefore telling to note that, in his own introduction to a catalogue, written in 1911, he mentioned the presence in his pictures of 'bleu qui est la limière et le repos' (Van Dongen in 1911, quoted in D. Marchesseau, Kees van Dongen,, Martigny, 2002, p. 88).

More from Impressionist and Modern Art (Evening Sale)

View All
View All