Maurice de Vlaminck

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Biography of Maurice de Vlaminck ( 1876-1958 )

Maurice de Vlaminck is born in Paris in 1876, the child of musicians. He does not complete his studies, and leaves his family in 1892 to become a professional cyclist. He marries in 1894 and will become a father of many children. He abandons cycling in 1896 and teaches music until 1911.  
Maurice de Vlaminck begins painting in 1899. After his meeting with Monet, he becomes friends with Andre Derain in 1900; together, the two men rent a studio on the island of Chatou. He then paints expressive portraits and landscapes. In 1901, Vlaminck and Derain go to visit the Van Gogh exhibition, and are overwhelmed. From 1904 to 1907, the artist paints Fauvistpaintings, using pure colours, simplifying his forms, applying his paint in flat tones and sometimes in Divisionist strokes. As of 1905, he exhibits regularly at the Salon des Indépendants and at the Salon d’Automne; Vlaminck is part of the "cage aux fauves" group that causes a scandal in the same year.  
In 1906, the dealer Ambroise Vollard buys the entire contents of his studio, and he mounts his first solo exhibition the following year. Maurice de Vlaminck, who briefly knows the Cubist period (1910), is mobilised by the Great War.  
After the war, the artist turns to figurative realism, then expressionism, where he represents the countryside in darker tones, creating thick impastos. In 1939, Vlaminck chairs the banquet of the Vitalists, during which a portrait of Adolf Hitler - the “art critic who is allowed, in his capacity as ex-painter of buildings, to assert that all the artists of the French school were degenerate” - is burned.  
Curiously, in 1941, Maurice de Vlaminck joins French artists and writers on a trip to Nazi Germany; during the Occupation, Vlaminck collaborates with various newspapers in which he attacks "foreign" artists, such as Pablo Picasso. For all these reasons, Maurice de Vlaminck will have difficulties as of the immediate post-war period.  
He was also a lithographer and wood engraver, an illustrator of works (Radiguet, George Duhamel, Julien Green, etc.) and a writer. 
Maurice de Vlaminck died in 1958 in Rueil-la-Gadelière (Eure-et-Loir, France

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