Maurice de Vlaminck Biography

Maurice de Vlaminck




Fauvist painter and printmaker Maurice de Vlaminck was born in Paris, France, on April 4, 1876, to musician parents Edmond Julien and Josephine Grillet. though he was trained in violin and piano, he discovered an interest in visual art as a teen and began private lessons in 1893 with painter Henri Rigalon. The following year he married and then performed his Army conscription, at the end of which he met artist Andre Derain by chance. They rented an art studio together for a year before Derain left for his own tour of duty in the military. To make ends meet, Vlaminck taught violin and performed with bands in the evening, painting in his studio during the day. 

By 1900 he had begun to find success, and his work was soon exhibted alongside Derain, Matisse, Albert Marquet, and others whose work would formally become known as Fauvist, taking on the derisive label fauves ("wild beasts") bestowed on them by critic Louis Vauxcelles at the 1905 Salon d'Automne. His style at this time also showed the influence of Vincent van Gough, using saturated colors and bold brushstrokes, sometimes squeezing paint directly onto the canvas. These works lacked fine detail but expressed mood and energy, appearing illuminated, and in 1906 the art dealer Ambroise Vollard purchased Vlaminck's entire stock of paintings, allowing the artist to focus entirely on his work.

In 1911, feeling dispirited as Fauvism waned in favor of Cubism and other styles he found unappealing, Vlaminck took up residence in London near the Thames to continue to work in a new environment. His palette now became darker and more monochromatic, and he began to devote time to writing. He remained in England until just before the onset of World War I. He returned to France in 1913, painting in Marseilles, before he was stationed in Paris during the war.

After the war, and by now separated from his wife, Vlaminck settled in Ruiel-la-Gadeliere, southeast of Paris. He remarried and started a family while continuing to paint, traveling throughout France for inspiration. He reintroduced brighter colors to his work, but his subjects remained introspective and quiet. He lived and worked in Ruiel-de-Gadelier until his death in 1958.