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Le Moulin de la galette
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Le Moulin de la galette
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About the item

Kees van Dongen, Le Moulin de la galette\nSigned van Dongen (lower right)\nOil on canvas\n20 1/4 by 28 3/4 in.\n54 by 73 cm\nPainted circa 1906.
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NY, US
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notes

Van Dongen's colorful rendition of the dance hall known as the Moulin de la Galette is an exceptional Fauve interpretation of a theme made popular by Renoir in 1876.  Le Moulin de la Galette was a mill that derived its name from the pancakes that were sold there, and the dance hall itself was a large shed between that mill and another one called Le Moulin Debray.  In the summer months, the festivities would move outside, where tables and chairs were placed alongside the dance floor. In Renoir's iconic Impressionist picture (one version is at the Musée D'Orsay; the other was sold at Sotheby's in 1990), we see the revelry of the attendants as they dance, drink and intermingle under the acacia trees at mid-day.  In the present work, Van Dongen provides us with a more interpretive depiction, capturing the energy of the scene through his expressive and colorful dabs of paint in the upper-half of the canvas.  Along the bottom we see the faces of the attendees, two of whom bear the large-eyed gazes that would become characteristic of van Dongen's Fauve portraiture.

The present canvas dates from circa 1906, when the activities of the Fauve painters were at their peak.  The year before, van Dongen, Matisse, Derain and Vlaminck had exhibited their work together at the Salon d'Autumne, where the vibrant colors and expressive brushwork of their pictures earned them the moniker "wild beasts."  The painters made the most out of their rebellious reputation and soon became the darlings of the avant-garde.  Le Moulin de la Galette exemplifies the spirited endeavour of this ground-breaking movement in 20th century art.

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Kees van Dongen

dimensions

20 1/4 by 28 3/4 in. 54 by 73 cm

provenance

Private Collection (sold: Sotheby's, London, June 30, 1987, lot 41)

Acquired at the above sale by the present owner


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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