Kees Van Dongen 1877-1968


Kees van Dongen, born Cornelis Theodorus Marie van Dongen, was a painter and printmaker. Born in 1877, Kees van Dongen’s art, especially his stylized and sensuously-rendered female portraits, would earn him a place in art history as one of the leading Fauvists.

Van Dongen’s interest in art and his artistic leanings were evident in his youth. He began his artistic studies while in his teens at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam. At the age of 20, he moved to Paris. Van Dongen embraced the bohemian lifestyle, taking jobs as an illustrator for satirical papers, a house painter, and a café artist.

Initially, Kees van Dongen’s artworks were in the Impressionist style. However, by the early 1900s, his colors became more vivid and concentrated. Two meetings occurred during this time that helped the young artist’s reputation to grow.

In 1905, he met Henri Matisse and participated in the Salon d’Automne as part of the group Les Fauves (Wild Beast). The group was known for the artists’ use of pure, unblended colors, and aggressive brushwork. The second meeting was in 1907 when van Dongen was contracted by Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Pablo Picasso’s art dealer. This arrangement provided a significant boost to the artist’s reputation.

Kees van Dongen’s Woman with Blue Eyes was painted in 1908, the same year van Dongen participated in exhibitions by Die Brücke, the German Expressionist group. Despite exhibiting with the group, van Dongen’s work stayed firmly in the Fauvist style.

His portrait style which featured glamorous women with large eyes and red lips became immensely fashionable at the end of World War I. While portraits were his main focus, van Dongen also painted seascapes and Paris street scenes.

Dongen’s artwork is highly valuable, and Bailly Gallery is pleased to offer Kees Van Dongen paintings and drawings for sale. The gallery will gladly arrange appointments for private viewings as well as welcome interested collectors to the gallery to view the works available. Contact the gallery to arrange an appointment or to discuss adding to your collection.


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