Maurice Vlaminck Biography

Maurice de Vlaminck was born on 4 April 1876 in Rue Pierre Lescot, Paris. His parents were working class musicians; father Edmond Julien was Flemish and taught violin, and mother Joséphine Caroline Grillet came from Lorraine, and was a piano teacher. Vlaminck began painting in his late teens, taking lessons from a local Parisian artist named Henri Rigalon. He also worked as a musician as his father had taught him to play the violin at a early age, but his main passion was painting, especially after he met André Derain by following a train accident in 1900. As a result of this encounter the two painters set up a studio in Paris together until 1901. This was a major turning point in Vlaminck's style of painting, which took place after he saw Van Gogh's post-impressionist paintings exhibited in France. This next and most important creative period saw Vlaminck compose pieces that consisted mainly of primary colour palettes, and this prompted art critic Louis Vauxcelles to coin the term 'Fauves' (wild beasts), due to this group of artists unrestrained painting style, which was deemed shocking at the time. The artist travelled to London in 1911 and painted the River Thames, but returned to France during World War I, where he was stationed in Paris. His post-war paintings became more subdued, and this was influenced greatly by Paul Cézanne's work. Vlaminck settled in Northwestern Paris and married a second wife, Berthe Combe, with whom he had two daughters. During this time, he wrote numerous poems and several novels, including autobiographies and songs. The artist also cycled along the Seine River for inspiration. His final works before his death were mostly post-impressionist in nature, depicting rural scenes of his hometown in France. Vlaminck died 11 October, 1958 at Rueil-la-Gadelière.

Artist's Statement

... Vlaminck was noted for his brash temperament and broad interests; he was at various times a musician, actor, racing cyclist, and novelist. He was also a self-taught artist, who proudly shunned academic training, aside from drawing lessons... One of his famous quotes: "What is Fauvism? It is me; it was my style of that time, my way of combined revolt and liberation, my self-chosen alienation from schools or anyone else; my blues, my reds, my yellows, my pure colours and unmixed tones."