Kees van Dongen was a Dutch painter and one of the "Fauves".
Kees van Dongen was born on January 26th, 1877, in Rotterdam. In 1892, at age 16, he started his studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam, working with J. Striening and J.G. Heyberg. During this period from 1892 to 1897,
In 1897, van Dongen lived in Paris for several months, where there was a large emigre community. Two years later, he returned to live there.
The bright colors he used made him become a Fauves ('Wild Beasts'), just like Henri Matisse. He was also part of an avant-garde movement: the Neo-Impressionism.
In addition to selling his paintings, van Dongen used to gain an extra income by selling satirical sketches to the newspaper Revue Blanche. He also organised very successful costume balls in Montparnasse, to which people paid admission, to gain more money.
After the First World War, under the influence of his companion, the fashion director Jasmy Jacob, among others, van Dongen developed the lush colours of his Fauvist style. This earned him a solid reputation with the French bourgeoisie and upper class, where he was in demand for his portraits.
In 1926, he was made a Knight of the French Legion of Honour, and in 1927 the Order of the Crown of Belgium in recognition of his contributions to art. In 1929, the French government awarded him citizenship. Two of his works were collected that year by the Musée du Luxembourg.
The social and commercial appeal of his later work (such as a 1959 portrait of Brigitte Bardot in a little black dress, with her hair tousled) did not match the artistic promise or the bohemian eroticism of his first three decades of work.
He died in his home in Monte Carlo in 1968.