Signed Vlaminck (lower left)
Oil on canvas
This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné being prepared by Maïthé Vallès-Bled and Godeliève de Vlaminck under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Institute.
Many of Vlaminck's fauve masterpieces were views of the river Seine; the tugboats, barges, yachts, bridges and towpaths seen at Charon, Bougival, Argenteuil and Pecq. The present work, Bord de rivière, le 14 juillet was probably painted during the first decade of the twentieth century on the banks of the Seine on the outskirts of Paris.
Vlaminck's jubilant oil of Bastille Day celebrations along the Seine was influenced by a well-known series completed during the artist's Fauve period. Depictions of this patriotic holiday featured in the works of several artists, including Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, and the Fauves such as Marquet and Dufy who best captured the exuberance of the day's commemorative festivities. The vibrant, tri-band colours of the French flag and the festive atmosphere were the perfect subjects for these 'wild beast' painters. In the present work, Vlaminck offers a new approach to this theme and its multiple connotations. In fact from 1908, like most of his Fauve friends, Vlaminck had begun to move away from the violence of pure colour and turn towards more muted tonalities and a more sober and rigorous composition. Here the artist offers us a subtle representation of a peaceful summer day with brilliant colors.
During the transitional period between Fauvism and the more familiar output of his later years, the influence of Cézanne led to a major modification in Vlaminck's style. It is surely no coincidence that Cézanne featured in a number of important exhibitions in 1908 and 1909. The high-pitched color and slashing strokes of the Fauve years were balanced by more subdued tones and a smoother application of paint. Although Vlaminck's work reveals a tempered palette compared to that of the artist's Fauve period, the use of brighter yellows, greens and reds in the present work reveals the energy and continued influence of the Fauvist palette. This new style would earn him, two years later, this glowing review from Guillaume Apollinaire: "Maurice de Vlaminck is one of the most gifted painters of his generation. His vision is large, powerful: his sober and intense technique allows lines to retain all of their freedom, shapes all of their relief, colours all of their clarity, all of their beauty" (G. Apollinaire, L'intransigeant, March 16th, 1910).
Fig. 1 Maurice de Vlaminck, Péniches sur la Seine, 1908, Private Collection, France
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