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Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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Kees van Dongen
1877 - 1968
CHAT JOUANT AVEC DES ARÔMES
signed van Dongen (lower right)
oil on canvas
65.6 by 50.5cm., 25 7/8 by 19 7/8 in.
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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

Private Collection, France (sale: Sotheby's, London, 29th November 1972, lot 108)
Sale: Christie's, London, 25th June 2014, lot 325
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner

Catalogue Note

Playful and spirited, Chat jouant avec des arômes reveals Kees van Dongen’s masterful handling of colour and illustrates his innovative approach to the still-life form. Van Dongen would return to the theme of the flower still-life throughout his career, often approaching the subject with a similar intensity to his Fauve works and paintings of women. The present composition is a vibrant and bold explosion of colour, further enlivened by means of broad, energetic brushstrokes and the sense of movement created by the cat seen playing with the flowers. Van Dongen has chosen the colours in the scene to reinforce one another according to the laws of complementary contrast: the brilliant blue of the vase against the lemon yellow background, the red of the table balancing the rich green of the tulips, thereby exploiting colour’s great power of expression to design an exceptionally bold and direct composition. No other artist at the time surrendered so unequivocally to the glory of colour, or achieved expressiveness with such economy of means. According to Denys Sutton, ‘[van Dongen] was a painter who found a natural means of expression in the use of thickly applied colour—bold stark reds, greens and blues, colours which, he once pointed out, held for him an almost symbolical meaning’ (William E. Steadman & Denys Sutton, Cornelius Theodorus Marie Van Dongen, Tucson, 1971, pp. 20-28).

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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London