Kees Van Dongen

Alternative Name(s): Kees van Dongen, Van Dogen
Date of Birth: Jan 26, 1877
Place of Birth: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Date of Death: May 28, 1968
Focus: Painter
Art movement: Fauvism
Nationality: Dutch

Famous Kees Van Dongen Artwork

Kees Van Dongen Biography

The real name of artist Kees van Dongen is Cornelius Theodorus Maria van Dongen. He was a painter and lithographic printmaker who is best known for his portraits of women. It took him most of his life to develop the elongated, bizarre, crayon-like style that won him acclaim. He is considered part of the Fauve (“wild beast”) school of art.

Van Dongen was born in a small Dutch town called Delfshaven in 1877. He began studying art while young. He was accepted to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam when he was 16. During his life, he traveled extensively to places like Spain, Egypt and Morocco. His first art was more conventional fare like landscapes. His first big break was in 1905 when he was accepted to exhibit in the Salon d’Automne. By 1926, he won the French Legion of Honor. His last home was Monaco, where he died in 1968.

All of van Dongen’s best known works are portraits of women. “Woman with a Large Hat” (1906) is a nude woman wearing a broad-brimmed feathered hat and bracelet. It looks very similar in style and coloration to one of Paul Gauguin’s portraits. Another portrait is “Modjesko, Soprano Singer” (1908) which is an almost grotesque portrait of a singer in full cry.