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Maurice de Vlaminck

Painting - Still life, Maurice de Vlaminck
Maurice de Vlaminck, Stillleben, 1909/10, Von der Heydt-Museum, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024
Modern Art Rebel
February 16 – May 18, 2025

Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958) is one of the most important French modernist painters and was a member of the group known as the ‘Fauves’ (‘Wild Ones’), which formed around Henri Matisse and André Derain in 1905. Together with the Museum Barberini in Potsdam, the Von der Heydt-Museum is realising the first posthumous retrospective of the artist's work in Germany, bringing a central figure of 20th century French art back into the public eye. With more than 50 selected paintings, the exhibition ‘Maurice de Vlaminck. Rebel of Modernism’ provides a valid overview of his entire painterly oeuvre: from his first compositions from the beginning of the 20th century, to his famous Fauvist paintings, his experiments with Cubism inspired by Cézanne and Picasso and his last landscape paintings, in which he developed a highly individual style of late Impressionism.

Vlaminck was born in Paris in 1876, the son of a musician couple. His father came from Flanders. Vlaminck received his first painting lessons from 1888 to 1891, but did not complete an academic education. He worked as a professional bicycle racer and mechanic, completed military service and became a musician in 1896. In 1900, Vlaminck met the painter André Derain – a legendary encounter that led Vlaminck back to painting. He shared a studio with Derain in Chatou and mainly painted landscapes along the Seine, which he explored by bicycle. When a group of artists formed around Henri Matisse at the Salon d'Automne in 1905, which contemporary critics labelled the Fauves (‘savages’), Vlaminck was also a member. The colour-intensive painting of the Fauves led to the development of expressive painting with formal parallels to German Expressionism. Like no other member of the group, Vlaminck identified with the attribute of wildness and propagated the image of a modern artist rebel early on, who resolutely turned his back on the rules of academic painting. Vincent van Gogh's oeuvre was a central source of inspiration. Vlaminck quickly became a leading representative of the French avant-garde and was also celebrated in Germany as a pioneer of modernism.

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