In the 1920s he began to turn away from his Fauve color palette of the early 1900s, partly because he was inspired by the colors that he encountered on his travels to the Mediterranean and also in response the tastes of his new clientele. His later works thus contain a more harmonious color palette as he sought to create more sophisticated and universally appealing pictures.
Van Dongen's newfound wealth enabled him to buy an elaborate villa in the city of Cannes. This location afforded him greater accessibility to his clients and high society, and in the 1920s and again in the mid-1950s van Dongen rendered picturesque scenes of the Cannes shoreline.
Voiliers à Cannes captures the luminosity and carefree spirit of Cannes. The resort activities of sailing and strolling on the beach illustrate the city to be one of respite. Van Dongen centers our attention upon the white sailboats which are juxtaposed in the deep blue water. The water is rendered with long, smooth brushstrokes, imparting a feeling of tranquility to the scene.
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