Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Vlaminck, Maurice de

Houses at Chateau
oil on canvas
81.3 x 101.6 cm (32 x 40 in.)
The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, USA

Maurice de Vlaminck (1876 - 1958) was a French painter. Along with Andre Derain and Henri Matisse he is considered one of the principal figures in the Fauve movement, a group of modern artists who from 1904 to 1908 were united in their use of intense color.

He was born in Paris to a family of musicians. His father taught him to play the violin. He first pursued the same musical career as his parents.
After absolving his military service, he worked as a musician until he accidentally met Andre Derain in 1900.
It was Derain who kindled Vlaminck's artistic ambitions. He decided to become a painter and rented an old hut in which he and Derain shared a studio. A crucial turning point in his artistic development was a visit to a van Gogh exhibition in Paris in the following year. After visiting a van Gogh exhibit, he declared that he "loved van Gogh that day more than my own father". In 1902 he met Henri Matisse, who encouraged him to exhibit at the Salon des Independents.

He painted during the day and earned his livelihood by giving violin lessons and performing with musical bands at night. His artistic work was interrupted for four years in 1914 when he was drafted into the war. After his release he established a small studio in Paris. It took place in 1919 at Druet, bringing about the artist's definite break-through. The show was so successful that he was able to buy a house in Valmondois in the same year. In this rural environment, he was finally able to develop his own style.
His work was honoured in numerous international exhibitions during the 1930s.