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Maurice de Vlaminck

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Maurice de Vlaminck

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Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958) visited the Van Gogh exhibition in 1901 at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune in Paris, and was so overcome that he proclaimed ‘Van Gogh is my father.’ After this experience, his art became more expressive and brilliantly colored, and he often painted directly from the tube. Vlaminck and his fellow artist André Derain, formed the Ecole de Chatou, named for a spot along the Seine where the artists often painted in plein air. In 1905, Vlaminck, André Derain, and Henri Matisse exhibited at the Salon d’Automne. The art critic Louis Vauxcelles famously described their work as ‘Donatello chez les fauves’ (Donatello among the wild beasts). The artists’ work in this style became known as Fauvism.

Maurice de Vlaminck’s most sought after paintings are his early works, particularly in the brilliantly colored Fauvist style, as well as transitional works showing Fauvist influence. Vlaminck is well known for his painting of bridges, especially the bridge of Chatou on the river Seine. The bridge in this painting has not been positively identified to date, but resembles the bridge at Chatou. The painting is consistent with his transitional style, also referred to as the Blue Period, from 1908-1914. Vlaminck was strongly affected by an exhibition of Cézanne’s paintings he attended in 1908, leading to an evolution of his style, known as his transitional period.

Vlaminck’s painting style began to evolve from Fauvism with its bright colors and expressive brushwork, and gradually became more influenced by impressionism. His palette changed to accentuate blues and browns.

The label of the Mayor Gallery on the reverse of the frame, gives the title as: Le Pont, 1912. Frame is also marked for the Mayor Gallery. Established by Fred Mayor in 1925, the Mayor Gallery was an important London venue for modernist art. Le Pont was purchased by Dr. Wood in 1932 from the Independent Gallery, sold at Sotheby’s Auction in November, 1964, to the Mayor Gallery, and subsequently purchased from the Mayor Gallery in June, 1965, by Frank Perls on behalf of the donee.

Frank Perls (1910-1975) established an art gallery in 1939 in Beverly Hills, California. Frank Perls was a personal friend of Pablo Picasso and the Matisse family, and a Fellow for Life of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Between 1950-1954, Perls organized the first West Coast exhibitions of Joan Miro, Marino Marini, and Alberto Giacometti. His brother Klaus was an important figure in the New York art world and author of Vlaminck, Hyperion Press, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1941. Klaus Perls wrote the exhibition catalog, Maurice De Vlaminck: His Blue Period, 1908-1914: November 15-December 24, 1954.