The “Kees Van Dongen” exhibition, which has also been shown in Montreal and Monaco and is now on at Barcelona’s Museu Picasso until 27 September, takes the artist, regarded as one of the best representatives of fauvism, out of this oblivion.
In fact, the artist’s more interesting works were painted long before. It was in Paris that the leitmotif which would continue throughout the subsequent phases in his artistic development first appeared: women.
First, he drew them, with strokes reminiscent of Toulouse-Lautrec’s style, and began to show a special interest in prostitutes, cabaret performers, dancers and circus artists. The world of popular arts was the only thing that interested Van Dongen, who shunned the great traditional themes of painting.
Eroticism and female seduction, the central themes of his paintings, combined with the painting’s material, colours and strokes, especially during Van Dongen’s fauvist phase. It led him, in the end, into the fold of the German expressionist group, Die Brücke.
Even the exotic element he found in his trips to Spain and Egypt is expressed in his women’s portraits: belly dancers, mulatto women and Seville dancers all feature in Van Dongen’s prolific creations.
Later on, the artist stylised his models, to satisfy his clients with more slender figures. Nevertheless, you only need look at the Tango of the Archangel to see the provocative element remained.
Exposició Kees Van Dongen | From 11/06/2009 to 27/09/2009
Museu Picasso: C Montcada, 15 – Ciutat Vella
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