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Kees van Dongen

Kees van Dongen

*  1877 Delfshaven
† 1968 Monte Carlo

The Dutch painter Kees van Dongen was born on January 1, 1877, near Rotterdam in Delfshaven. The Impressionists awoke his interest in art, and his early artistic endevours were influenced by their style. Van Dongen studied at the academy in Rotterdam, though he did not finish his studies there, instead earning his livelihood working for the magazines "Groene" and "Rotterdam Neusblad." Scandal broke out with the publication of his drawings of habor scenes and prostitutes. In 1897, he went to Paris, where he lived in the studio-house Bateau-Lavoir, in which Pablo Picasso later rented a room. He worked as an illustrator for "Revoue Blanche" and "L'assiette au Beurre." In 1903, van Dongen exhibited his works publicly for the first time and two years later became associated with the group Fauves (wild beasts). Nevertheless, his affinity for the German Expressionists can be recognized in his works. He later exhibited with "Die Brücke" (the Bridge), a group of German Expressionists. At the end of World War I, van Dongen was discovered by the upperclass, who contracted him for many celebrity portraits, which made him a chronicler of 1920's and 1930's society. He is considered a Fauvist, but his style is still nevertheless closely related to the German Expressionists. He is appreciated for his unique coloring, especially in his portraits but also in his likenesses and landscapes. Kees van Dongen died on May 28, 1968, in Monte Carlo.