KEES VAN DONGENDeux femmes nues à la fenêtre
- Kees van Dongen
- Deux femmes nues à la fenêtre
- signed van Dongen (lower right); signed van Dongen and inscribed 5 Rue Juliette Lamber on the reverse
- oil on canvas
Sale: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 15th November 1978, lot 109
Private Collection (sold: Sotheby's, London, 2nd April 1979, lot 52)
M. Gunzenhauser (purchased at the above sale. Sold: Sotheby's, London, 1st July 1980, lot 49)
Sale: Nuova Brera-Arte, Milan, 22nd May 1990, lot 234
Private Collection, The Netherlands (acquired circa 2002. Sold: Sotheby's, New York, 6th May 2003, lot 24)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
The alluring manner in which Van Dongen has presented this vision of beauty – with the two women leaning luxuriously over the balcony rail – reveals his fascination with the female figure. As the artist elaborated: 'All women have their beauty and charm which I glorify, […] big eyes – I don’t know why - long eyelashes, satin-smooth or matt skin […]. You have to want to touch a painting, for it to be a pleasure for all the senses' (quoted in All Eyes on Kees van Dongen (exhibition catalogue), Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2010-11, pp. 151-152). All elements of the composition are subordinate to this artistic vision, including Van Dongen’s distinctive palette which was a legacy from his involvement with the Fauves. A contemporary critic commented: 'From a brilliant palette, his fluid colour moulds the form; he has pinks and luminous greys which are a sheer delight to the eye' (M. Hamel, quoted in ibid., p. 148). In Deux femmes nues à la fenêtre Van Dongen juxtaposes these greys and pinks against striking blue and green tones, emphasising the sensuality of his models.
Donald Kuspit suggests that Van Dongen's use of the female nude shows a 'special character of this fascination, indicated by the attempt to reduce the female body to a crude mass of colour, implies a special desire, a special wish to be seduced: the physical intimacy communicated amounts to identification with the female. It is an identification which confirms the artist's power - which appropriates female power for his art [...]. Fauvism is eager for art to have the vital power of the female. It is this that the Fauvist images of females pursue, and that van Dongen articulates with a special vehemence. For me, his most important pictures are those of women' (D. Kuspit in Kees van Dongen (exhibition catalogue), Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 1989, p. 37).