Kees van Dongen
1877 - 1968
Etude for 'Rio des Mendiant', 1921
Signed and dedicated top left corner "V.D." "a Monsieur Longnon./ Cordialement/ Van Dongen", Signed top right "Rio des Mendiants" , Marked bottom left "41"
Ink, gouache and soft lead pencil on paper
12 1/2 x 9 5/8 in, 31.7 x 24.5 cm
Kees Van Dongen created Etude pour 'Rio des Mendiant' in 1921 when living in Venice for a month. He realised around twenty paintings while in the city - with accompanying...
Kees Van Dongen created Etude pour 'Rio des Mendiant' in 1921 when living in Venice for a month. He realised around twenty paintings while in the city - with accompanying studies - which were promptly purchased by the famed Parisian gallery, Bernheim Jeune. Van Dongen characterised the grace of the Venice with its elegant and slender women, and in doing so found a new style of feminine representation. This sophisticated style, which is tinged with sensuality, became identified with Van Dongen for the rest of his career.
Like many before him, Van Dongen was entranced by the quality of light and dazzling waters of Venice. Since the Renaissance, Venetian painters such as Titian and Veronese were famed for their dazzling use of colour, setting the ‘colorito’ of Venice against the ‘disegno’ (drawing) of Florence. Van Dongen as one of the original Fauve artists, understood colour, and in ‘Etude pour ‘Rio des Mendiants’ proves himself a worthy heir to this Venetian line.
In a mirage of blues, this work exudes energy and spontaneity. It is a study for one of the eleven illustrations Van Dongen made for Paul Leclère’s 1925 book ‘Venise-Seuil des Eaux’. This drawing also relates to the major painting ‘La laguna di Venezia’, in which Van Dongen uses the depictions of both the gondolier and central figure.
Reaching the height of his fame in the 1920s, Van Dongen was lauded for his ability to portray the beau monde of Parisian society. His works are held in major public collections such as Museum of Modern Art, New York; Petit Palais, Geneva and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
Besch Cannes Auction SARL, Cannes, Des Impressionistes aux contemporains, lot 274, 15 Aug 2008
Connaught Brown, London (purchased from the above sale)
Private Collection, Paris (purchased from the above in 2009)
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the Wildenstein Institute dated 21st March 2008, Paris (ref. 08.03.21.10573.3032) and will be included in the "Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre de Kees Van Dongen".