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Artists Maurice de Vlaminck
Maurice de Vlaminck Photo

Maurice de Vlaminck

French Painter, Graphic Designer, and Writer

Movements and Styles: Fauvism, Cubism

Born: April 4, 1876 - Paris, France

Died: October 11, 1958 - Rueil-la-Gadelière

Maurice de Vlaminck Timeline

Quotes

"I try to paint with my heart and my loins, not bothering about style."
Maurice de Vlaminck
"I heightened all the tones, I transposed in an orchestration of pure colors all the feelings I could grasp. I was a tender barbarian filled with violence."
Maurice de Vlaminck
"For me 'the Cubist uniform' is very militarist, and you know how little I am 'the soldier type.' Barracks make me neurasthenic and Cubist discipline reminds me of my father's words: 'the army will do you good! It will give you character!"
Maurice de Vlaminck
"In art, theories are as useful as a doctor's prescription; one must be sick to believe them."
Maurice de Vlaminck
"What is Fauvism? It is me: it was my style of that time, my way of combined revolt and liberation, my self-chosen alienation from schools or anyone else; my blues, my reds, my yellows, my pure colours and unmixed tones."
Maurice de Vlaminck
"Painting was an abscess which drained off an evil in me. Without a gift for painting I would have gone to the bad. . . what I could only have achieved in a social context by throwing a bomb. . . I have tried to express in art."
Maurice de Vlaminck
"I never go to museums. I avoid their odor, their monotony and severity."
Maurice de Vlaminck

"I wanted to burn down the Ecole de Beaux Arts with my cobalts and vermilions and I wanted to express my feelings with my brushes without troubling what painting was like before me... Life and me, me and life."

Maurice de Vlaminck Signature

Synopsis

French Fauve artist, Maurice de Vlaminck, seems to have been in a contest with the iconic Cubist, legendary womanizer, and notoriously egotistical, Pablo Picasso. What these two rebellious artists did have in common was an uncanny ability to innovate, to create something completely new. For Picasso, it was Cubism; for Vlaminck and his fellow Fauves, André Derain and Henri Matisse, it was the bright, expressive colors - likened to "fire crackers" - and outrageously unconventional depictions that earned the group their influencial place in history. Vlaminck later railed against developments in modern art when, ironically, he was one of the true pioneers of modernist abstraction.

Key Ideas

Vlaminck, along with the other Fauve painters, continued the approach established by the Impressionists of rejecting conventional themes and instead representing scenes from everyday life. Rather than depicting stories from mythology, history, or portraying notable figures, his paintings often featured unremarkable cityscapes and landscapes, as well as unknown denizens of Parisian nightlife, all enlivened by his bright, unnatural Fauve palette.
Even though he experimented with the Cubist style, Vlaminck seems to have regarded Cubism as an unworthy opponent of what he saw as the more revolutionary artistic style of the Fauves. He alienated himself from the Paris art world by his outspoken condemnation not only of Cubism, but of its most renowned co-founder, Picasso.
Vlaminck's particular brand of Fauvism incorporated heavy, dark outlining of brightly colored forms that - more so than those of the other Fauves - had a profound impact on the development of abstract, expressive painting and printmaking on German modernist artists like Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Kirchner, and Emile Nolde.

Biography

Maurice de Vlaminck Photo

Childhood

Maurice de Vlaminck was born on April 4, 1876 in Paris. He grew up in a working class family of musicians. His father Edmond Julien taught the violin, and his mother Joséphine Caroline Grillet taught piano. When he was three years old his family moved to Le Vesinet, a town about 10 miles northwest of Paris, to live with his grandmother.

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Maurice de Vlaminck Biography Continues

Important Art by Maurice de Vlaminck

The below artworks are the most important by Maurice de Vlaminck - that both overview the major creative periods, and highlight the greatest achievements by the artist.

At the Bar (1900)
Artwork Images

At the Bar (1900)

Artwork description & Analysis: Vlaminck paints a satirical caricature of a woman sitting at a bar as a means of exposing the problem of prostitution and alcoholism in capitalist society. He may have been influenced by Toulouse-Lautrec's portrayal of prostitutes and solitary drinkers, however, he claimed that it was not his goal to convey the sitter's psychology. Although the woman is staring out at the viewer, her gaze is blank, detached. Rather than avoiding creating a psychological portrait, Vlaminck has succeeded in lending the woman, with her vapid stare, a stark and tragic demeanor. The figure dominates the canvas; she is thrust to the foreground in which her massive drink rests, forcing the viewer to candidly engage with her as might well be the case with a heavily inebriated person.

The woman's messy hair and worn clothes suggest that she is part of the working class. Her reddish nose is visual shorthand for alcoholism, which is emphasized by the oversized red glass on the bar. The rough brushwork and rudimentary modeling are just as suggestive of the artist's perception of his subject as they are descriptive of her actual appearance. The artist offsets the depressing mood of the painting by somewhat salaciously mocking the sitter's oversized breasts to represent the last two zeros in the year that it was completed, 1900. The lurid colors of the figure contrast sharply with the dark background in which a street lamp seems to offer little protection from the hazards of the night.

Oil on canvas - Musée Calvet, Avignon France

Reclining Nude (1905)
Artwork Images

Reclining Nude (1905)

Artwork description & Analysis: Another of Vlaminck's works that explore the world of prostitution and dancehall entertainers, Reclining Nude represents a modern take on a classical subject: the female nude. He paints his subject using vibrant, unnatural colors and accentuates her features by way of colorful, overdone cosmetics creating a mask-like visage. The body is heavily outlined and simplified to the point where it is basically an amalgam of abstract shapes. The curving outline of the figure mimics the swirls of colored drapery in the background, lending the composition a decorative effect. The artist creates depth and volume by building the surface of the canvas up with his use of flat passages of thickly applied paint.

Like Manet's Olympia (1863), also a prostitute, Vlaminck represents the sexual encounter she offers as a commodity. Like her counterpart in the Manet painting, Vlaminck's reclining nude confronts the viewer with her powerful, unwavering gaze. Unlike a traditional, idealized nude female, this unknown woman is meant to represent a boldly naked, unquestionably modern woman. One hand grasps an article of clothing that she has recently removed, further emphasizing the process of seduction. Like Manet and Derain, Vlaminck attempts to represent the "splendor and misery" of capitalism in modern life - specifically, the reality of modern life for working class women. While Vlaminck's nude is grotesque; quite likely, he intended for the viewer to understand that the woman has contracted and is suffering from syphilis, thus the "misery" component of the piece, he makes the work less overtly bleak by using bright, almost celebratory colors - the consummate Fauve palette.

Oil on canvas - Museum of Fine Arts Houston

Houses at Chatou (1905-06)
Artwork Images

Houses at Chatou (1905-06)

Artwork description & Analysis: Vlaminck lived and worked for over a decade in the small town, Chatou. This painting captures a view from the Île de Chatou in the Seine river, which also runs through Paris. The view is framed by two trees, a conventional device of landscape painting. Despite the bright colors that dominate the picture, the bands of darker tones mixed with white in the sky suggest that a storm is moving in. The absence of people in the painting conveys the sense of isolation and loneliness regular inhabitants of the popular tourist site may have experienced after the vacation season ended. Unlike his Impressionist predecessors, Vlaminck does not celebrate the culture of leisure.

Characteristic of the Fauve style, Vlaminck refrains from producing realistically rendered shadows and instead uses complementary colors to suggest an essentially deserted town on a quiet autumn afternoon. His lively, linear brushwork creates a sort of rhythmic pattern across the canvas. The minimal visual descriptions of objects, whether houses, trees, river, or clouds, provides this landscape with a kind of abstract simplicity made less serene by the swirls of color and twisting trees, which are indicative of the strong influence of van Gogh. Indeed, after seeing van Gogh's retrospective in 1901, Vlaminck was deeply inspired by the artist and declared, "I loved van Gogh that day better than my own father!"

Oil on canvas - The Art Institute of Chicago

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Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Maurice de Vlaminck
Interactive chart with Maurice de Vlaminck's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Vincent van GoghVincent van Gogh
Henri MatisseHenri Matisse
Paul CézannePaul Cézanne
Édouard ManetÉdouard Manet
Paul GauguinPaul Gauguin

Personal Contacts

André DerainAndré Derain
Émile ZolaÉmile Zola

Movements

Neo-ImpressionismNeo-Impressionism
ImpressionismImpressionism
PointillismPointillism
DivisionismDivisionism

Influences on Artist
Maurice de Vlaminck
Maurice de Vlaminck
Years Worked: 1899 - 1958
Influenced by Artist

Artists

André DerainAndré Derain
Henri MatisseHenri Matisse
Emile NoldeEmile Nolde
Ernst Ludwig KirchnerErnst Ludwig Kirchner
Wassily KandinskyWassily Kandinsky

Personal Contacts

Daniel-Henry KahnweilerDaniel-Henry Kahnweiler
Ambroise VollardAmbroise Vollard

Movements

ExpressionismExpressionism
Die BrückeDie Brücke
Der Blaue ReiterDer Blaue Reiter
Neo-FauvismNeo-Fauvism

Useful Resources on Maurice de Vlaminck

Books

Websites

Articles

Videos

The books and articles below constitute a bibliography of the sources used in the writing of this page. These also suggest some accessible resources for further research, especially ones that can be found and purchased via the internet.

biography

In Montmartre: Picasso, Matisse and the Birth of Modernist Art Recomended resource

by Sue Roe

Les Fauves: A sourcebook

by Russell T. Clement

Dangerous Corner

by Maurice de Vlaminck

More Interesting Books about Maurice de Vlaminck
The Athenaeum: Maurice de Vlaminck

A complete collection of Vlaminck's works (900+), with details on their location

Vlaminck: Expressing Mood with color

By Souren Melikian
The New York Times
July 11, 2008

Nazi Looted Vlaminck Sold at Christie's Ending Decades of Controversy Recomended resource

By Eileen Kinsella
Artnet
February 5, 2015

Maurice de Vlaminck's rebel works are welcomed in Paris

By Elaine Ganley
Los Angeles Times
April 11, 2008

Maurice De Vlaminck Slideshow

Good slideshow set to music by Yves Montand

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Sheryl Siclari-Ostyn

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Sheryl Siclari-Ostyn
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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