Jacques Chalom des Cordes will include this work in his forthcoming Van Dongen catalogue critique being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Institute.
Van Dongen would return to the theme of the flower still-life throughout his career, often handling the subject with a similar intensity to his Fauve works and paintings of women. Hortensias roses et bleues is full of painterly flashes. Intense pink and blue flowers seem to erupt from the subtly modulated background. The highly saturated hues are applied in thick brushstrokes and convey the immersion of the artist in depicting the scene before him.
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 about Van Dongen in 1918, "This colorist 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 color, 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 sensual female form, an elaborate circus scene or a vibrant floral still-life, was only ever an excuse for his own exuberant explorations into color 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" (ibid., p. 87).