Kees van Dongen

Cornelis Theodorus Maria van Dongen (26 January 1877 – 28 May 1968), usually known as Kees van Dongen or just Van Dongen, was a Dutch painter and one of the Fauves. He gained a reputation for his sensuous, at times garish, portraits. Kees van Dongen was born in Delfshaven, then on the outskirts, and today a borough, of Rotterdam. In 1892, at age 16, Kees van Dongen started his studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam. During this period from 1892 to 1897, van Dongen frequented the Red Quarter seaport area, where he drew scenes of sailors and prostitutes. In 1897 he lived in Paris for several months. In December 1899 he returned to Paris to join Augusta Preitinger ("Guus"), whom he had met at the Academy. They married on 11 July 1901 (they divorced in 1921). He began to exhibit in Paris, and participated in the controversial 1905 exhibition Salon d'Automne, in a room featuring Henri Matisse amongst others. The bright colours of this group of artists led to them being called Fauves ('Wild Beasts'). He was also briefly a member of the German Expressionist group Die Brücke.  In these years he was part of an avant-garde wave of painters—Maurice de Vlaminck, Othon Friesz, Henri Rousseau, Robert Delaunay, Albert Marquet, Édouard Vuillard—who aspired to a renewal of painting that was stuck in neo-impressionism. In 1906 the couple moved to the Bateau Lavoir at 13 rue Ravignan, where they were friends with the circle surrounding Pablo Picasso and his girlfriend Fernande Olivier. More