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 Maurice de Vlaminck  (1876 - 1958)

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About: Maurice de Vlaminck
 

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Lived/Active: New York / France/Unknown Country      Known for: fauve landscape painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Maurice de Vlaminck
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Birth
1876 (Paris, France)
 
Death
1958 (France)

Lived/Active
New York / France/Unknown Country

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fauve landscape painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Maurice Vlaminck and Andre Derain were good friends and neighbors in France; they made a spectacular pair.  Both were huge and both wore conspicuous clothes.  One of Vlaminck's favorite items of costume was a painted wooden necktie.  They lived and worked in a seaside suburb called Chatou and invited Matisse to visit them there.  Thus began one of the most fruitful associations in modern French art: Fauvism.

Despite their friendship there were wide differences in their personalities as well as many similarities.  Vlaminck claimed to despise intellectual pursuits;  Derain read enormous numbers of books.  Vlaminck called Derain "a hot-house plant";  Derain's father forbade his son to bring Vlaminck to their house.

Vlaminck was about twenty-five at the time; he was already married and had two children.  He took life a great deal more lightly than the others;  he had no money.  He was a red-headed colossus, well known as a boxer and a wrestler.  He supported himself and his family partly as a violinist, sometimes posing as a gypsy, and by writing pulp novels that skirted the boundaries of pornography.  He was a blatant self-promoter who painted in furious bursts, often spreading the oil paint on directly from the tubes. By the age of thirty, he had attained heights he never regained in a long lifetime of painting.

After a brief skirmish with Cubism, Vlaminck began striking out against the current trend.  He retired to Normandy and started painting the dozens of landscapes, golden wheat fields and chilly, wind-swept winter scenes that earned him the title "poet of stormy skies".

Submitted August 2004 by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:
The World of Matisse by John Russell, Time-Life Library of Art
Time Magazine, May 24, 1968

Biography from Daphne Alazraki Fine Art:
Born on the rue Pierre Liscot, near Les Halles, Maurice de Vlaminck was raised by his Flemish-Catholic father and Protestant mother from Lorraine; both parents were musicians. At age three, Vlaminck and his family moved to Le Vesinet to live with his maternal grandmother. In 1892, Vlaminck acquired his first racing cycle, which replaced his aging bicycle; eventually he planned to make a living as a professional cyclist.

In 1893, he took drawing lessons from an M. Robichon, and also painted on the Ile de Chatou with Henri Rigal. Vlaminck married Suzanne Berly in 1894. To support his family he gave violin lessons and raced professionally, but after contracting typhoid fever in 1896, he was forced to end his cycling career. In November of the same year, he began his military service at Vitre in Brittany, where he served as a musician in the 70th Regiment. On June 18, 1900, during one of his fifteen-day leaves, Vlaminck met Andre Derain. Vlaminck eventually rented a studio with Derain in the abandoned hotel-restaurant, Levanneur, on the Ile-de-Chatou.

During the Fauvist movement, Vlaminck remained mostly in and around Chatou, exhibiting his work alongside that of the other Fauve* artists at the Salon des Independants* and Salon d'Automne*. About 1908 his palette grew increasingly blue and brown and his forms became distinctly "Cezannesque."

In 1925, he began to travel throughout France, a practice he continued each year, although the vast majority of his work was done in the suburbs of Paris along the Seine. His work made before and after World War II consists principally of landscapes and still-life, characterized by a dark palette and thick strokes of paint enlivened by touches of white. He published dozens of autobiographical books, containing considerable exaggerations about his life and his relations with other artists.

In the painting Village sous la neige, Vlaminck presents the viewer with a view of the empty streets of a snowbound village. The midnight blue sky filled with dashes of white indicating clouds seems to indicate the impending threat of another snowstorm. The darkened windows and empty streets seem to represent a period of hibernation for this small village in the dead of winter. Though the scene has a certain bleakness, therein is where its beauty lies – this is a powerful painting that is not straightforward or merely pretty.

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx


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