Lot 7
  • 7

MAURICE DE VLAMINCK | Paysage au bois mort (Ramasseur de bois mort)

12,000,000 - 18,000,000 USD
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  • Maurice de Vlaminck
  • Paysage au bois mort (Ramasseur de bois mort)
  • Signed Vlaminck (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 25 3/8  by 31 5/8 in.
  • 64.5 by 80.5 cm
  • Painted in 1906.


Louis Renault, Paris

Maurice Laffaille, Paris (acquired from the above)

Galerie de France, Paris (acquired by 1942)

Private Collection, Paris (acquired by 1975)

Sale: Christie's, London, March 26, 1984, lot 20

Acquired at the above sale


Paris, Galerie de France, Les Fauves, peintures de 1903 à 1908, 1942

Paris, Galerie Serret-Fauveau, Quelques oeuvres choisies du XIXe et du XXe siècle, 1961, no. 34, illustrated in color on the exhibition poster

Tokyo, Takashimaya; Osaka, Takashimaya & Fukuoka, Iwataya, Les Fauves, 1965, no. 84, illustrated in the catalogue

Paris, Galerie Paul Pétridès, Rétrospective des oeuvres de Maurice de Vlaminck, 1975, n.n.

Nottingham, Nottingham Castle Museum, Sounds of Colour, 1984, no. 18

London, Hayward Gallery, Sounds of Colour, 1988, no. 33

Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales & Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria, Fauves, 1995-96, no. 91, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Fauvism "Wild Beasts", 1996, no. 62, illustrated in color in the catalogue (dated circa 1906)

Paris, Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris, Le Fauvisme ou "l'épreuve du feu": Éruption de la modernité en Europe, 1999-2000, no. 58, illustrated in color in the catalogue (dated circa 1906)

Basel, Fondation Beyeler, Farbe zu Licht, 2000, no. 104, illustrated in color in the catalogue (dated circa 1906)

Lodève, Musée de Lodève, Derain et Vlaminck, 1900-1915, 2001, no. 31, illustrated in color in the catalogue

London, The Courtauld Gallery, 2002-18 (on loan)


George Besson, Couleurs des maîtres, 1900-1940, Lyon, 1942, illustrated in color pl. 14

Gaston Diehl, "À propos d'une exposition: le fauvisme" in Beaux-Arts, no. 70, Paris, June 20, 1942, illustrated p. 5 (titled Les Châtaigniers and erroneously attributed to Kees van Dongen)

Gaston Diehl, Les Fauves, Paris, 1943, illustrated in color pl. XI

Gaston Diehl, Les Fauves, Paris, 1948, illustrated in color pl. XIV

Marcel Brion, "Le fauvisme" in Art d'aujour d'hui, Paris, February 1950, illustrated p. 9

Sarah Whitfield, Fauvism, London, 1991, no. 103, illustrated p. 129 (dated 1905-06)

Jean-Louis Ferrier, Les Fauves: le règne de la couleur, Paris, 1992, illustrated in color p. 103

Sarah Whitfield, Le Fauvisme, Paris, 1997, no. 103, illustrated p. 129 (dated 1905-06)

Judi Freeman, The Fridart Collection: Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Modern Masterworks, London, 1998, illustrated in color p. 55

Maïthé Vallès-Bled, Vlaminck, Catalogue critique des peintures et céramiques de la période fauve, 1900-1907, Paris, 2008, no. 123, illustrated in color p. 282

Catalogue Note

With its vigorous application of paint and electric coloration, Maurice de Vlaminck's Paysage au bois mort (Ramasseur de bois mort) is highly evocative of the canvases of Vincent van Gogh. The dense mosaic of painted strokes in the foreground of the work, as well as the palette of vibrant reds, yellows and oranges have their precedents in van Gogh’s landscapes from Saint-Rémy and Arles. As James D. Herbert reveals, “Vlaminck’s choppy, tightly packed application of paint and his glistening oils… often bear striking resemblance to van Gogh’s canvases. Indeed Vlaminck may well have depended on the lessons of van Gogh to a greater degree than any other Fauve before 1907 relied on a single artistic predecessor” (J. D. Herbert, Fauve Painting: The Making of Cultural Politics, New Haven & London, 1992, p. 27). The figures in Paysage au bois mort (Ramasseur de bois mort) have obvious connections to the Dutch painter—bent over, caught in the midst of action, the darkly-clad figure has strong associations with the figures that populate many of van Gogh’s rural landscapes. Transported to the banks of Seine, van Gogh’s laborers have transformed to leisure-seekers enjoying the verdant splendor the Parisian suburbs. By the 1870s the valley of the Seine, long praised as an idyllic rural retreat, offered the ideal escape for Parisians seeking a respite from the increasingly industrialized capital. The sections of the Seine where the river reaches its widest and deepest point, making it ideal for sailing and the wide promenades and occasional woods stretches along the banks of the river, offered a leisurely alternative that drew crowds from the city. It also supplied the opportunity to paint modern life in a bucolic setting and this combination proved an irresistible attraction for the Impressionists. Monet rented a house in the town of Argenteuil in 1871, and Caillebotte, Manet, Renoir and Sisley were regular visitors. For Vlaminck and Derain, the towns along the Seine were their home; one needed merely to step outside to capture the distinct character of the sites that were so dear to many of the Impressionists. As John Klein explains, a certain intimacy with the local environments is palpable in the paintings of Derain and Vlaminck: “Because Derain and Vlaminck were longtime residents of the region, the motifs that they painted in Chatou and the surrounding area were deeply familiar to them. The sense of being of the place gives their paintings a profoundly different character, at once more intimate and more poignant, that the canvases of Bougival, Chatou, or La Grenouillère by Renoir or Monet, who had been tourists like the others” (The Fauve Landscape (exhibition catalogue), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 1990, p. 131). The particular characteristics of the area that initially drew the Impressionist artists to these small stretches of riverside—the fusion of modernity with rural calm and, most crucially, the ever-changing panorama of the river itself—are still apparent in the works of the Fauves. While Vlaminck and Derain were working within the established modern practice of painting in the suburbs of Paris, their works visually referencing those earlier works of Monet and Caillebotte, the renewal of subject matter could not match the abrupt break in the style and shockingly-vibrant colored canvases which set the Fauves miles apart from their predecessors.

As the first avant-garde movement to flourish in France at the turn of the century, the spontaneous, often subjective response to the natural world that characterized the works produced by the Fauves shocked the art world to its core and launched a revolution of color in the years that followed. The rapidly applied and forceful brushstrokes were, in the case of Vlaminck, energized by the artist’s passion. He referred to this fact on many occasions in his writings: “I intensified all the tones, I transposed into an orchestration of pure colors all the feelings I was aware of. I was a barbarian, both tender and full of violence. From instinct and without method I translated a truth that was not artistic but human. I crushed and spoiled the ultramarines, the vermilions that nonetheless were very expensive and that Père Jarry, the paint seller on the corner of Chatou bridge, used to let me have on credit” (quoted in M. Vallès-Bled, op. cit., p. 114). As with many canvases of the period, in Paysage au bois mort (Ramasseur de bois mort) Vlaminck focused his attention on the vivid chromatism of the landscape, providing a work that resonates with all the passion and exuberance that characterize the greatest of Fauve paintings.