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Maurice de Vlaminck

(1876—1958) French painter and writer

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French painter, who exhibited with the fauves.

Vlaminck's parents were both musicians and he himself was a racing cyclist as a young man. In 1900 he met Derain and began to paint seriously, earning his living by playing the violin. At this time he also contributed to anarchist magazines. His early work was influenced by the Van Gogh exhibition of 1901 with its violent use of pure strong colour. Like Matisse and Derain he used colour as an emotive force rather than solely a descriptive medium, applying paint straight from the tube to the canvas and dispersing it with rough brushstrokes. His work was exhibited with that of the fauves at their historic exhibition of 1905. Vlaminck was largely self-taught as a painter and gloried in his undisciplined talent – he derided traditional culture and claimed never to have set foot in the Louvre.

Vlaminck's style began to change after he had seen the retrospective exhibition of Cézanne's paintings in 1907. Over the next five years both colour and brushwork became more subdued and the structure more defined, as in Self Portrait (1912). His later work is more directly representational. He moved from Paris to the country, where he indulged his passion for racing cars and painted predominantly landscapes and still lifes in a vigorously expressive realistic style. He also illustrated books and wrote several autobiographical works.

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