Kees van Dongen: Artist Portrait

Kees van Dongen

Born 1877. Died 1968.
Interested in selling a work by Kees van Dongen?
Request an Estimate

Works by Kees van Dongen at Sotheby's

Past Lots

Kees van Dongen Biography

Dutch-French artist Kees van Dongen was a leading figure of the Fauvist movement in the early decades of the twentieth century, who also briefly showed with the German Expressionist group Die Brücke. He was best known for his sensuous portraits of women using the acidic colors and surprising chromatic juxtapositions of the Fauvist palette, with a loose, gestural handling of paint. He was commercially successful in the later years of his career, producing portraits of women of high society and even celebrities like Brigitte Bardot in the 1950s; however, critics refer to the early years of his career immediately after the turn of the century as the high point of his career, during the height of Fauvism.

Born in 1877 on the outskirts of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Van Dongen studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam under J. Striening and J. G. Heyberg. Upon moving to Paris in 1899, he soon began to frequent the popular gathering spaces of Montmartre, where he met artists Henri Matisse, André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck. He began experimenting with similar bold colors and expressive forms as those of his friends, and showed at the Salon d’Automne alongside fellow Fauvist artists. He supplemented his income with satirical work for La Revue Blanche magazine, where many of his colleagues of the avant-garde in Paris also published. He developed significant patronage from within the French bourgeoisie following the First World War, and consistently secured commissions for portraits within his signature Fauvist style.

Van Dongen was inducted into the French Legion of Honor in 1926, and was awarded the Order of the Crown of Belgium the following year. His works briefly fell out of popularity following the Second World War as a result of his relative acceptance by the Nazis, though connoisseurs and collectors have continued to admire his works well into the twenty-first century. His works can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, and the National Gallery, Washington, DC, among others.

Read Less
Read More

Kees van Dongen Videos and Stories

Museums with Works by Kees van Dongen

We use our own and third party cookies to enable you to navigate around our Site, use its features and engage on social media, and to allow us to perform analytics, remember your preferences, provide services that you have requested and produce content and advertisements tailored to your interests, both on our Site as well as others. For more information, or to learn how to change your cookie or marketing preferences, please see our updated Privacy Policy & Cookie Policy.

Close
Please note that prior performance of the indexes and realized returns contained herein does not guarantee future results. In addition, there is no guarantee that random collections of individual works of art or stocks will yield index returns. We are not financial advisors and we are not in the business of recommending art as an investment. We also have no comparative advantage in forecasting the future direction of the art market. Investment decisions should be based on the risk return tolerance and time horizon of the investor with, if desired, the support of a licensed financial advisor. This information is provided "as is" and with no representations or warranties either express or implied of accuracy, merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose or of any other nature are made with respect to this information or to any expressed views presented in this information.