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Anita - La belle fatima et sa troupe
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Orientalist themes dominated van Dongen's work throughout his Fauve period providing an exoticism and intensity that perfectly suited the artist's temperament, as illustrated in this painting of circa 1905-07.  In his predilection for the theme, van Dongen followed a long tradition of Orientalism in French art from Delacroix and Ingres to Matisse.  In 1906, Matisse made his first trip to Morocco, and the visit had a profound effect on the development of his style.  Matisse and van Dongen were the two Fauve artists most influenced by the Arab world and most capivated by the human figure.  The exoticism of the cultures of North Africa and the Ottoman Empire and intensity of the color and light made a tremendous impact on their motifs and techniques at this time.  Van Dongen's particular achievement, as exemplified in the present work, was to achieve a synthesis of the brilliant and pure chromatic vision of the Fauves with a great sense of movement and compositional audacity.\nWhile living at the Bateau Lavoir in Montmartre, van Dongen frequented the bals musettes and cabarets of the area, seeking out models for his paintings, and became one of the leading figures in bohemian circles.  At this time van Dongen made a series of paintings using the model Anita la Bohémienne, a dancer he found at a club in Pigalle.  The sensual dancer became the subject of some of van Dongen's most emotionally charged, energetic and erotic paintings, including the present work, in which she is pictured as "La Belle Fatima et sa troupe."  Discussing van Dongen's work of this period, Marcel Giry wrote:  "Numerous models came to his studio in rue Lamarck including Anita la Bohémienne, who was a dancer at a dive in Pigalle.  ...we are struck by the extraordinary chromatic subtelty which goes far beyond Van Dongen's earlier accomplishements ...The determination to emphasise the plastic values of the modeling is the second characteristic of these works which extol Anita's sensual beauty ...  'I exteriorize my desires' he [Van Dongen] said, 'by expressing them in pictures.  I love anything that glitters, precious stones that sparkle, fabrics that shimmer, beautiful women who arouse carnal desire... Painting lets me possess all this most fully' "  (Marcel Giry, Fauvism, Fribourg, 1981, pp. 224-226).\nIt was with works such as the present painting that van Dongen was to come closest to German Expressionist art, and it is possible to see the present work as a precursor to the wild dancing girls of Nolde and Pechstein.  Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, the first owner of this painting, was van Dongen's dealer until 1908 when the artist signed a contract with Bernheim.  Kahnweiler was instrumental in promoting the reputation of van Dongen not only in Paris, where he held an exhibition of the artist's work at his gallery in 1908, but also in Germany where later that year he organised an exhibition at the Galerie Flechtheim in Düsseldorf.  Pechstein visited Paris in 1908 and invited van Dongen to collaborate with Die Brücke.  The exhibition, organized by Kahnweiler, proved to be of substantial influence on the artists associated with Die Brücke and spread van Dongen's reputation into the German speaking world.\nSigned Van Dongen (lower left)
US
NY, US
US

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Kees van Dongen

dimensions

39 by 31 1/2 in.

exhibition

Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Van Dongen, 1942, no. 38 (as dating from 1907) Nancy, Musée de Nancy, Evolution de la peinture en France de 1905-1914, 1958, no. 48 Paris, Les Sources du XXème siècle, 1960-61, no. 133 Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Chefs d’œuvre des collections françaises, 1962, no. 105 Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Van Dongen, 1964, no. 12 Paris, Musée National d’Art Moderne and Rotterdam, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Van Dongen, 1967-68, no. 36 Marseille, Musée Cantini, Hommage à Van Dongen, 1969, no. 24 Rotterdam, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Kees van Dongen, 1989, no. 18 Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Van Dongen, Le Peintre 1877-1968, 1990 Dresden, Galerie die Brücke, 2001 (on loan)

literature

Connaissance des Arts, Paris, 1953, no. 20 Joseph-Emile Muller, Le Fauvisme, Paris, 1956, p. 58 Jean Leymarie, Le Fauvisme, Geneva, 1959, illustrated p. 133 Louis Chaumeil, Van Dongen, L’homme et l’artiste, la vie et l’œuvre, Geneva, 1967, illustrated pl. 54, (as dating from 1907-08) Renata Negri, Matisse and the Fauves, New York, 1975, p. 79, pl. 59, illustrated Anne Devroye, L’Œuvre de Kees van Dongen jusqu’en 1920 (thesis), Paris, 1984, no. 93

provenance

Galerie Kahnweiler, Paris Boris Fize, Paris (by 1958) Charles Tabachnick (acquired from the above on May 17, 1978 and sold: Sotheby's, London, June 24, 1997, lot 20) Acquired at the above sale by the present owner 

signedDate

Signed Van Dongen (lower left)

time_period

Painted circa 1905-07.

creator_nationality_dates

1877 - 1968


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