MAURICE DE VLAMINCK: THE PIONEER OF FAUVISM

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Enlivening the unremarkable landscapes and cityscapes, as well as unknown denizens of Parisian nightlife with a liberal application of bright and bold colors, the French painter, Maurice de Vlaminck, is celebrated as one of the creators of the painting style known as Fauvism.

Famous for his brash temperament and broad interests, Vlaminck was born on April 4, 1876, in Paris, France. When he was three years old his family moved from Paris to Vésinet. Pursuing the same musical career as his parents, Vlaminck leaved his home as a trained double bass player in 1892 to move to Chatou near Versailles.  After absolving his military service in Vitré, Vlaminck worked as a musician until he met accidentally the painter André Derain in 1900.

Vlaminck rented a studio with André Derain from 1900 to 1901. In 1901, Vlaminck saw the exhibition of the paintings of Post-Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh, and like Derain and many other young artists, he was struck by van Gogh's powerful brushwork and use of intense, non-naturalistic colors. Vlaminck was soon experimenting with pure, intense color drawn straight from the tube and applied in thick daubs.

In 1905, Vlaminck introduced to Henri Matisse through Derain and he exhibited with both in 1905 at the Salon des Indépendants and at the controversial group show at the Salon d'Automne. In the second exhibition, the critic Louis Vauxcelles called these artists ‘fauves' (wild beasts); he considered their canvases of bold color, applied in a spontaneous and impulsive manner, too unrefined.

Impressed by a retrospective exhibition of Paul Cézanne's paintings in 1907, Vlaminck began to emulate the Post-Impressionist artist’s work. He adopted a more subdued palette and turned to painting landscapes with solid compositions. After World War l he left Paris and moved to the countryside, where he painted rural scenes in a dramatic yet mannered style.

Vlaminck also continued to write poetry, fiction, and memoirs, and he illustrated several books. He also pursued printmaking and engraving during his career.

Vlaminck died on October 11, 1958, in Rueil-la-Gadelière, France at the age of 82.


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