Galerie Kahnweiler, Paris
Private Collection, Paris (purchased at a Paris auction in the 1930s)
Thence by descent to the present owners
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, L'Oeuvre de Vlaminck du Fauvisme à nos jours, 1956, no. 19
Marcel Sauvage, Vlaminck. Sa vie et son message, Geneva, 1956, illustrated pl. 41
Pierre Mac Orlan, Vlaminck, Monte Carlo, 1958, illustrated pl. 9
Chatou, paysage à l'arbre rouge depicts the landscape near the island Chatou, where Vlaminck lived during his Fauvist years. The artist rarely left the region during this time, preferring its surroundings along the Seine over the landscapes of the south of France, favoured by Matisse, Derain and Braque. Vlaminck moved to Chatou in 1892, at the age of sixteen, and became deeply attached to this area. He drew inspiration for most of his early landscapes from this region, many of them characterised by the red-tiled roofs typical of the surrounding villages. It was in Chatou, the birth place of André Derain, that the two artists met by chance in 1900, and subsequently formed a partnership that became the core of the Fauve movement. Vlaminck and Derain shared a studio, and over the following years regularly painted together, often depicting the same views of the local landscape.
Painted in 1906, Chatou, paysage à l'arbre rouge displays a colouristic boldness characteristic of Vlaminck’s Fauve works. Executed in quick brushstrokes of primary tones, this composition displays an explosion of colour that earned him and his colleagues the name 'wild beasts'. Vlaminck, who later described Fauve art as a 'manner of being' rather than an intellectual invention, followed his youthful instincts in applying bold colour onto canvas in an almost violent fashion. The fierce blue, green and red hues dominating the scene are contrasted with the black contours, heralding Vlaminck's 'Cézannesque' period that would dominate in the years to come. Furthermore, the red tree, acting as a frame within a frame and as perspectival device, is another feature reflecting the influence of Cézanne on this pivotal period of Vlaminck’s art.
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