Maurice de Vlaminck
- Maurice de Vlaminck
- Le Verger
- Signed Vlaminck (lower right)
- Oil on canvas
Galerie de L'Elysée (Alex Maguy), Paris
Kootz Gallery, New York (acquired by 1952)
Allan D. Dowling, New York
Knoedler Gallery, New York (acquired from the above on July 14, 1960) (stock no. A7641)
Barbara Thurston, New York (acquired from the above on January 23, 1961)
Marlborough Galerie, Zürich
Private Collection, Europe (acquired from the above in 1971)
Private Collection, Europe (acquired by descent from the above and sold: Sotheby’s, London, June 19, 2006, lot 9)
Acquired at the above sale
New York, Perls Galleries, Vlaminck: His Fauve Period, 1968, no. 11, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Munich, Bayerische Staats-Gemäldesammlungen (on loan 2001-02)
Paris, Musée du Luxembourg, Vlaminck, Un instinct fauve, 2008, no. 24, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Lausanne, Fondation de l'Hermitage, Passions partagées: De Cézanne à Rothko: Chefs d'oeuvre du XXe siècle dans les collections privées suisses, 2009, no. 105, illustrated in color in the catalogue (dated 1905)
Maïthe Vallès-Bled, Vlaminck, Catalogue critique des peintures et céramiques de la période fauve, Paris, 2008, no. 115, illustrated in color p. 265
Of all of the Fauve painters, Vlaminck was perhaps one of the most vocal about the trans-sensory impact of vibrant color. He would frequently use musical and visual qualifiers interchangeably in his descriptions of his art, enabling him to express the powerful, multi-sensual experience he attempted to convey in his paintings. “When I had spent a few days without thinking, without doing anything, I would feel a sudden urge to paint. Then I would set up my easel in full sunshine… Vermilion alone could render the brilliant red of the tiles on the opposite slope. The orange of the soil, the harsh crude colors of the walls and greenery, the ultramarine and cobalt of the sky achieved an extreme harmony that was sensually and musically ordered. Only the series of colors on the canvas with all their power and vibrancy could, in combination with each other, render the chromatic feeling of that landscape” (quoted in G. Diehl, The Fauves, New York, 1975, p. 104).
This fascination with brilliant, vibrant colors is beautifully reflected in Le Verger, which probably depicts a scene near Chatou, where Vlaminck lived at the time. The artist rarely left this region during his Fauve years, preferring its surroundings along the Seine over the landscapes of the south of France, favored by Matisse, Derain and Braque. Vlaminck moved to the island of 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 characterized by the red-tiled roofs typical of the surrounding villages. It was in Chatou, the birthplace 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.
An expression of his youthful instincts, Vlaminck’s passion for color was, however, not without influence. In 1901 he saw the first retrospective exhibition of Van Gogh’s work, held at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune in Paris, an experience that was to determine his artistic direction. In Le Verger, the debt owed to Van Gogh is evident in the choice of palette as well as of subject matter. Writing about the influence of Van Gogh on Vlaminck’s art of this period, John Rewald commented: “In spite of all his admiration for all of van Gogh’s canvases, he immediately recognized in him a formidable adversary. Here was a man who had the same aspirations as himself, who had translated in his work the same torments and exaltations, the same visions and impressions with which he was struggling. And he had translated them with pure colors and brushstrokes, so expressive that all his emotions seemed to lay bare his canvases. Compared with the pursuit of delicate light effects characteristic of the Impressionists, whose pictures Vlaminck had seen occasionally in Paris, van Gogh suddenly burst forth with an unprecedented intensity of color and design. Back in Chatou, Vlaminck began to assimilate van Gogh’s lesson” (J. Rewald, Modern Masters, Manet to Matisse, New York, 1975, p. 116).