427
Kees van Dongen
PORTRAIT DE MADAME VAN DER VELDE
Estimate
600,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 233,000 USD (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)
JUMP TO LOT
427
Kees van Dongen
PORTRAIT DE MADAME VAN DER VELDE
Estimate
600,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 233,000 USD (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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Kees van Dongen
1877 - 1968
PORTRAIT DE MADAME VAN DER VELDE
Signed van Dongen (center left)
Oil on canvas
49 5/8 by 37 7/8 in.
126.2 by 96.3 cm
Painted circa 1920-23.
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This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné being prepared by Jacques Chalom des Cordes under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Institute.

Provenance

Sale: Phillip's, London, June 29, 1987, lot 116A
Sale: Drouot-Richelieu, Paris, June 21, 1988, lot 55
Sale: Drouot-Montaigne, Paris, March 31, 1990, lot 35
Private Collection
Private Collection (acquired from the above in 2001)

Literature

Edmond des Courières, Van Dongen, Paris, 1925, illustrated p. 24 
Kees van Dongen (exhibition catalogue), Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny, 2002, no. 72, illustrated in color p. 122

Catalogue Note

Kees van Dongen began his artistic career as an impoverished young upstart, leaving home early and encountering art "by accident" with no formal training to assist. He rubbed elbows with the likes of Picasso, Derain and Gris and would later recall how he and his fellow artists would snatch bread and milk from nearby buildings to feed themselves and their families. However, frugality would not be lasting for the intuitive Dutchman whose distinctive style quickly earned him a place among the most respected and fashionable artists of his generation. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s he was Paris’ favored portraitist and his chief subject was the modern woman.

Particularly at the start of his career—and perhaps for want of commissions—Van Dongen would paint prostitutes and the cabaret girls of Montmartre. These works are characterized by brash colors of clothing and bold, aggressive lines of eye make-up. As his reputation grew, he moved to an elegant studio and began to indulge in a more luxurious lifestyle; he was renowned for the sumptuous parties and balls which he held. The present model, Madame Van der Velde, is most certainly from his more sophisticated social circle, emphasized by the more somber palette and the lackadaisical dog who flops on the chair, seemingly unimpressed with the presence of the artist. However, Van Dongen still manages to infuse the work with enigmatic allure—the coiffured Madame Van der Velde’s eyes drop towards her rouged cheeks, her mouth and arms are open and her dress strap is barely visible. The gleam of her golden dress adds to her casual glamour and her direct and open pose speaks of her assured confidence. The present work epitomizes Van Dongen’s exceptional skill in evoking the strength and independent spirit of his female models—none of which he lost as his subjects and styles developed throughout his prosperous career. As one contemporary critic enthused, "Van Dongen's art irresistibly draws us in, because it is filled with passion and ardent sensuality... whether he paints society women or prostitutes, errand girls or actresses, dancers or oriental women, his constant and only concern is to capture on canvas, with extraordinarily rich colors, the form, appearance, and soul of today's woman" (quoted in Antoine Bertrand, "'Un Temps Fou': An Investigation of the Artist's Studio as Workplace and Playground," in Van Dongen (exhibition catalogue), Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, 2008, p. 254).

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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New York