Kees van Dongen (1887-1968)
Le lévrier bleu (Loyse Dumarest)
signed 'van Dongen.' (lower center); signed, titled, signed with initials and numbered 'van Dongen Le levrier Bleu VD3' (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
76 7/8 x 38¼ in. (195.2 x 97 cm.)
Painted in 1919-1920

Jacques Chalom des Cordes, Paris (acquired from the artist, circa 1960).
Roberto Polo, Paris (circa 1980); sale, Ader-Tajan, Paris, 7 November 1991, lot 71.
The Principality of Monaco (acquired at the above sale).
Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (until 2009).
Private collection, France (until 2011).
Dickinson Roundell, Inc., London.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, July 2012.
G. Jeanneau, ”Au Salon des Indépendants” in Le Bulletin de la Vie Artistique, 1 February 1920, p. 130 (illustrated).
"Paris et les formes nouvelles de l'art" in Vogue, 15 July 1920, p. 16 (illustrated; titled La femme au lévrier bleu).
"Kees van Dongen" in Op de hoogte, September 1920, p. 190 (illustrated).
E. des Courrières, Van Dongen, Paris, 1925, no. 68 (illustrated).
L. Chaumel, Van Dongen: l'homme et l'artiste, la vie et l'œuvre, Geneva, 1967, p. 312, no. 58 (illustrated, p. 160).
M. Rousseau-Chatelain, "L'itinéraire d'un peintre haut en couleurs: Kees van Dongen (1877-1968)," in Annales Monégasques, Monaco, 2007, no. 31, p. 188 (illustrated in color).
A. Hopmans, All Eyes on Kees van Dongen, exh. cat., Boijmas-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2010, p. 148 (illustrated in color; dated 1920).
A. Hopmans, Van Dongen. Fauve, anarchiste et mondain, exh. cat., Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 2011, p. 168 (illustrated in color; dated 1920).
Paris, Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées, Société des "Artistes Indépendants" 31e Exposition, 1920, no. 1359.
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Van Dongen, March 1921, no. 1.
Brussels, Galerie Le Centaure, Kees van Dongen, February 1927, no. 5 (titled Femme au lévrier bleu).
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Kees van Dongen, April-May 1927, p. 11, no. 5 (illustrated; titled Femme au lévrier bleu).
The Hague, Pulchri Studio, Kees van Dongen, June-July 1927, no. 5 (illustrated).
Paris, Atelier de l'artiste, Van Dongen: portraits, peintures, dessins, November-December 1928, no. 48.
Paris, Atelier de l'artiste, Van Dongen: 30 ans de peinture, May 1931, no. 27.
Utrecht, Genootschap Kunstliefde, Kees Van Dongen, August 1949, no. 17 (titled De Blauwe Hazewind).
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Van Dongen, Œuvres de 1890 à 1948, March-April 1949, no. 98.
Geneva, Musée Rath, Van Dongen, October-November 1959, p. 14, no. 56 (illustrated, p. 32).
New York, Leonard Hutton Galleries, A Comprehensive Exhibition of Paintings: 1900 to 1925 by Van Dongen, November-December 1965, no. 24 (illustrated in color).
Paris, Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées, Salon d’automne 1972: Grandes Œuvres Russes des collections françaises, Van Dongen, Villes Nouvelles, October November 1972, no. 33.
Paris, Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées, Société des artistes indépendants, February-March, 1979, no. 32 (illustrated).
Monaco, Nouveau Musée de Monaco and Rome, Palazzo Ruspoli, Acte I pour un nouveau musée, December 2004-July 2005, no. 25 (illustrated in color, p. 45).
Monaco, Nouveau Musée National de Monaco; Montréal, Musée des beaux-arts and Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen, Van Dongen, June 2008-August 2009, p. 336, no. 196 (illustrated in color, p. 283).
Sale room notice
Please note the additional exhibitions:
Paris, Atelier de l'artiste, Van Dongen: portraits, peintures, dessins, November-December 1928, no. 48.
Paris, Atelier de l'artiste, Van Dongen: 30 ans de peinture, May 1931, no. 27.

Please note the additional literature:
"Kees van Dongen" in Op de hoogte, September 1920, p. 190 (illustrated).

Brought to you by

Max Carter
Max Carter

Lot Essay

This work will be included in the forthcoming Kees Van Dongen Digital Catalogue Raisonné, currently being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Plattner Institute, Inc.

In Le lévrier bleu, painted in 1919, Van Dongen depicted his portrait subject as an archetypal beauty in the trendy, gamine mold—tall and rail-thin, with modishly bobbed hair, large eyes rimmed in kohl, and a flapper-style shift dress. She has been identified as a Parisian belle named Loyse Dumarest, who appears in at least two other canvases by the artist, bust-length (sold, Christie’s, London, 6 February 2006, lot 73) and seated (Chaumeil, fig. 57). Here, she is shown full-length and life-size, on a canvas measuring over six feet high, emerging in gleaming, silvery radiance from the surrounding darkness.
The painting takes its title from the greyhound that accompanies the model, mirroring her slender proportions and lending an animal sensuality to the image. The dog may have belonged to the famously outré socialite and Van Dongen’s close friend, the Marchesa Luisa Casati, whose collection of pets also included snakes and cheetahs. Van Dongen in La vasque fleuri (Chaumeil, pl. 121) and more famously Boldini (sold, Christie’s, New York, 1 November 1995, lot 6) both painted “La Casati” with one of her greyhounds deployed as a fashion accessory.
Van Dongen selected Le lévrier bleu as the sole painting, along with a decorative screen, to represent his signature vision of urbane, modern beauty at the Salon des Indépendants of 1920, the initial reinstatement of this important yearly exhibition since the outbreak of war in 1914. Later in 1920, Vogue magazine reproduced the present painting as well as a portrait of Jasmy (Chaumeil, pl. 122) to illustrate the most sought-after fashions of the moment.
The erotic frisson and provocative edge that characterize Van Dongen’s Fauve paintings of the demi-monde imbue these post-war, society portraits as well. “Van Dongen did not abandon transgression in order to become established and successful,” John Klein has written. “He embraced it and made it consumable, even a source of beau monde desire” (exh. cat., op. cit., 2008, p. 223). In Le lévrier bleu, Loyse Dumarest meets the viewer’s eye with a sultry, direct gaze; her cheeks are heavily rouged and her skin shot with green, underscoring the artificiality of the image.

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