You might have come across his work before, colourful portraits of women with dark oval eyes, lavish gowns and provocative poses…But does the name ‘Kees van Dongen’ ring a bell? Yes. Maybe, No? Dutch-born artist, Kees van Dogen was born 26 January 1877 in Delfshaven then on the outskirts of Rotterdam. I’ve been a big admirer of his work for a loooong time now. Yet strangely enough, I never connected his name – his exotic-looking paintings – or let alone that he was from Holland – at least not until a few years ago… duuuh!
At the moment there’s a special exhibition on the artist, here in Holland. The best part about it is that the paintings are back in his hometown, Rotterdam. The exhibition “All Eyes on Kees van Dongen” showcases a selection of paintings, drawings, ceramics, posters and photographs. Clearly showing his love for colour, women and exquisite eye for detail. After seeing his work for the first time, I’m even more fascinated with this artist. I have to add that I thought it was AWESOME because I came across some other painting of his that I’ve never knew about or just not the obvious vibrant paintings i.e. ‘Seated Woman’.
What also amazed me to discover was that so many of the masterpieces are privately owned. Imagine that! Having one of those gorgeous paintings hanging in your living room! I wish! Luckily I’m always going to be able to admire Potrait of Guus Preitinger since it’s belongs to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
ABOUT THE ARTIST: Kees van Dongen developed intense lush colours at an early stage in his career. He was a traveler who visited Spain, Morocco, Egypt and the more obvious destination, Paris! It’s no secret that Paris played a high point in his life. It was there where his success came through the controversial 1905 exhibition Salon d’Automne and helped launch the Fauvism (Wild Beast) short-lived group of painters which included, Henri Matisse. Besides his beautiful oriental influence with decorative details, it’s his experimental style and intense use of colour that inspires me the most about this artist…Kees van Dongen (unlike Dutch-born artist Vincent van Gogh) gained a tremendous success (while he was alive) and lived a long fruitful lifestyle.
Kees van Dongen..: Potrait of Guus Preitinger (the artist’s wife), Oil Painting, 1910
What do you think of his work? Have you seen his paintings or an exhibition on the artist before? Look forward to hearing from any of you…
Boijmans van Beuningen Museum…: All Eyes on Kees van Dongen