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KEES VAN DONGEN

Beautiful women of easy virtue and prostitutes bring success to the Netherlands artist

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Kees van Dongen (1877-1968) was born in Delfshafen near Rotterdam in the Netherlands. The real name is Cornelis Theodorus Maria van Dongen. In 1892-1897 he studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam. He earned his living by publishing ironic, sometimes scandalous sketches of the local port, grasslands and dens in the local newspapers Grun and Rotterdam Newswsblad. From this period, numerous sketches of scenes with the participation of sailors and prostitutes made by the artist in the red light district of the city remained in his works.


Since 1899, van Dongen settled in Paris, regularly taking part in various avant-garde exhibitions. As an innovative artist, van Dongen participated in various artistic movements, including Fauvism and Expressionism. The influence of both these currents is noticeable in the use of sonorous pure colors in his paintings.


In 1905, van Dongen took an active part in the famous Fauves exhibition at the Autumn Salon in Paris.
Since 1908 he was one of the participants of the German association of expressionist artists "Bridge".


Kees van Dongen won fame paintings dedicated to the "modern woman", immersed in the world of domestic bliss, fashion and entertainment. The most significant early paintings by van Dongen include canvases "Woman in a wide-brimmed hat", "Red Dancer", "Lady in Black Gloves", "Dancing Carmen Vincent", where generalized figures, faces of models and half-light ladies are outlined with eye-catching color accents and rhythms. These works are impressive not so much by “shocking” as a powerful pictorial innovation, which had a great response in European art.


In the years preceding the First World War, van Dongen's paintings appeared, painted with a violent temperament. The female model was his favorite theme: he continued to paint both nudes and portraits. In 1929, Kees van Dongen received French citizenship. During the interwar period, van Dongen’s style changed significantly. The artist's work has become a kind of “avant-garde salon” or the average version of “art deco”, dominated by large custom portraits or symbolic paintings, full of high-profile, sometimes almost kitschy chic.
Pictures of Van Dongen are at least in 35 museums of the World.