Lot 356
  • 356

MAURICE DE VLAMINCK | Les Canotiers à Chatou

1,500,000 - 2,500,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Maurice de Vlaminck
  • Les Canotiers à Chatou
  • Signed Vlaminck (lower right); signed Vlaminck and titled (on the reverse)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 23 1/2 by 29 in.
  • 58.4 by 73.7 cm
  • Painted in 1904-05.


Ambroise Vollard, Paris 
Sale: Christie’s, New York, October 21, 1980, lot 224
Perls Galleries, New York (acquired at the above sale)
Acquired after 1991


Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art & London, The Royal Academy of Art, The Fauve Landscape: Matisse, Derain, Braque and Their Circle, 1990-91, no. 11, illustrated in color in the catalogue


Niamh O’Laoghaire, The Influence of Van Gogh on Matisse, Derain and Vlaminck, 1898-1908, Toronto, 1992, illustrated n.p.
Maïthé Vallès-Bled, Vlaminck, Critical Catalogue of Fauve Paintings and Ceramics, Paris, 2008, no. 23, illustrated in color p. 93

Catalogue Note

The present work depicts the Seine near Chatou, a small town located just northwest of Paris. Vlaminck, who moved to this 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'" (John 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 colour and abrupt, summary brushwork" (ibid., p. 124; see fig. 1). Vlaminck 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.

For all the Fauves, color was the means of expressing emotion. But Vlaminck was perhaps one of the most vocal about the trans-sensory impact of a vibrant palette. 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. 

John Elderfield has written about the painter’s artistic approach to color: "Vlaminck’s concern with the immediate led him to base his painting around a combination of the three primary colors, especially the cobalts and vermilions with which, he said he wanted 'to burn down the Ecole des Beaux-Arts,' and 'to express my feelings without troubling what painting was like before me'" (John Elderfield, The Wild Beasts: Fauvism and Its Affinities (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1976, p. 71).