Lot 16
  • 16

MAURICE DE VLAMINCK | Rueil, le garage à bateaux

2,000,000 - 3,000,000 USD
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  • Maurice de Vlaminck
  • Rueil, le garage à bateaux
  • Signed Vlaminck (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 21 1/2 by 25 7/8 in.
  • 54.7 by 65.7 cm
  • Painted in 1906.


(possibly) Galerie Paul Pétridès, Paris

Private Collection, Paris (and sold: Sotheby's, London, June 28, 1988, lot 23)

Private Collection, London (acquired at the above sale)

Private Collection, Japan (acquired circa 1995)

Sale: Christie's, New York, November 19, 1998, lot 328

Acquired at the above sale


(possibly) Paris, Galerie Ambroise Vollard, Exposition de peintures et faïences décoratives de Vlaminck, 1910, no. 21 (titled Le Garage)

Onomichi, Japan, Onomichi City Museum of Art, Great French Masters of Impressionism at the École de Paris, 1995, no. 25, illustrated in color in the catalogue


Jean Melas Kyriazi, Van Dongen et le fauvisme, Lausanne, 1971, no. 4, illustrated in color p. 23 (titled La Seine à Chatou)

Niamh O’Laoghaire, The Influence of Van Gogh on Matisse, Derain and Vlaminck, 1898-1908, PhD Dissertation, The University of Toronto, 1992, illustrated pl. 157 (titled La Seine à Chatou)

Benoît Noël & Jean Hournon, La Seine au temps de canotiers, Garches, 1997, illustrated in color p. 118 (titled La Seine à Chatou, le garage Fournaise de Rueil-Malmaison and dated 1905)

Maïthé Vallès-Bled, Vlaminck, Catalogue critique des peintures et céramiques de la période fauve, 1900-1907, Paris, 2008, no. 163, illustrated in color p. 364

Catalogue Note

Painted at the height of the Fauve movement, Rueil, le garage à bateaux exemplifies Maurice de Vlaminck’s most celebrated style, color palette and subject matter. Vlaminck, who moved to the Chatou region at the age of sixteen, was deeply attached to the local landscape which he strove to render in his paintings with the utmost intensity. It was at Chatou that one of the critical partnerships at the core of the Fauve movement began with the chance meeting of Vlaminck and André Derain in June 1900. When their outbound train derailed shortly after leaving Paris, the two artists "struck up a conversation while walking the rest of the way to Chatou, where they both lived. It turned out that they both painted, and... they agreed to meet the next day under the Pont de Chatou... with their canvases. So it was, as Vlaminck later said in his typically jocular manner, that the 'School of Chatou was created'" (J. Klein, The Fauve Landscape (exhibition catalogue), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1990, p. 123). Vlaminck and Derain eventually shared a studio, and over the following years regularly painted together, often depicting the same views. Unlike Derain's portrayals of the Chatou landscape, which were more radical in composition, "Vlaminck would generally set up a firm but unobtrusive structure that imposed further order on a landscape already highly mediated by suburban development. Such a solid... approach to composition enabled him to organize and make legible his arbitrary treatment of color and abrupt, summary brushwork" (ibid., p. 124). Vlaminck rarely left this region during his Fauvist years, preferring its surroundings along the Seine over the landscapes of the south of France, favored by Matisse, Derain and Braque. He drew inspiration for most of his early landscapes from this region, characterized by the red roofs typical of the surrounding villages, the varied greenery along the shoreline and the graceful combination of pleasure boats and industrial craft that regularly sailed along the Seine.

Derain and Vlaminck’s special focus on Chatou in these critical Fauve years would not be the first time that a young and bold artistic movement was drawn to this particular location on France’s most famous river. A generation before the young artists, who had flocked to Paris and turned the Salon on its head, delighted in spending long and pleasurable summer days boating here and dining in a variety of restaurants catering to the ever-more mobile urban population. “Although in terms of color and touch their art indeed made an abrupt break with convention, Vlaminck and Derain were working within an established modern practice of painting in the Paris suburbs, and in Chatou particularly. Pierre-Auguste Renoir was most closely associated with Chatou. In Luncheon of the Boating Party, and in many other paintings of boaters, strollers, and diners on the Île de Chatou, Renoir celebrated a suburban world of social pleasures. His focus, and the subject of this painting, was the Restaurant Fournaise. About a mile downriver at Croissy, Renoir and Claude Monet had painted another pleasure spot, La Grenouillère, and Bougival, across the river from there also provided them with many motifs” (ibid., p. 127).

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).

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 Rueil, le garage à bateaux, 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).