Maurice de Vlaminck

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photo, 1942: - Vlaminck (right) and Derain (left) - former Fauve companions till c. 1912 - reconcile after many years

Maurice de Vlaminck (4 April 1876 – 11 October 1958) was a French painter. Along with André Derain and Henri Matisse he is considered one of the principal figures in the Fauve art movement, a group of modern artists who from 1904 to 1908 were united in their appreciation of intense colour. Later Vlaminck returned to the use of broken colors.


  • [how anyone could] remain an individual if he had to conform with senseless orders and old foolish things without being asked his opinion on them.
    • Quote of De Vlaminck c. 1898-99; as cited in Vlaminck, Klaus G. Perls, The Hyperion Press, New York 1941, p. 42
    • It was in these years in the military that Vlaminck was converted to anarchist thinking. In a writing then he questioned how anyone could..
  • ..a revolt against an established order in painting, a revolt against an established order in society, a same spirit of provocation..
    • Quote of De Vlaminck before 1915; as cited in Derain et Vlaminck: 1900-1915, by Jacqueline Munck and Maïthé Vallès-Bled; catalogue of Lodeve Museum, 2001, p. 23 - ISBN 10: 8820214903 / ISBN 13: 9788820214906
  • [ Picasso is guilty of] having dragged French painting into the most dismal 'impasse' and of having led it into in describable confusion. From 1900 – 1930, he led it towards negation, impotence and death. All alone with himself Picasso is impotence made man. Nature havinf denied him a real character, all his intelligence and malice have been employed to fabricate a personality.
    • Quote from Vlaminck's text 'Portraits', c. 1940-42; as cited in 'Dangerous Corner', Maurice de Vlaminck; transl. after 'Tournant Dangereux, 1929' by Michael Ross]; Abelard-Schuman Limited, New York, 1966, p. 25
  • The thought of becoming a painter never as much as occurred to me. I would have laughed out loud if someone had suggested that I choose painting as a career. To be a painter is not a business, no more than to be an artist, lover, racer, dreamer, or prizefighter. It is a gift of Nature, a gift..
    • Quote of De Vlaminck; as cited in Vlaminck, Klaus G. Perls, The Hyperion Press, New York 1941, p. 51
    • To support his family of four, De Vlaminck had to find other means by which to earn a living, and ended up taking several other jobs, including working as a billiards players, a writer, a general worker, and even a cyclist
  • ..translated by instinct, without any method, not merely an artistic truth but above all a human one.
  • I wanted to burn down the 'École de Beaux Arts' with my cobalts and vermilions and I wanted to express my feelings with my brushes without troubling what painting was like before me.. .Life and me, me and life.

'Dangerous Corner', 1929[edit]

'Dangerous Corner', Maurice de Vlaminck; translation after 'Tournant Dangereux, 1929' by Michael Ross; Abelard-Schuman Limited, New York, 1966
  • [with painting] directly tube against canvas, one soon becomes too slick.. .I regretfully realized that my composition was reduced to no more than a series of coloured rhythms, harmonious, discordant, monotonous and that, from simplification to simplification, I was falling into the trap of decoration. I no longer got to the bottom of things: I no longer cut through to their heart. The decorative spirit was leading me to forget painting.
    • p. 15
    • Vlaminck himself had become disillusioned with Fauvism, c. 1907-08
  • The war [World War 1.] gave me a certainty of belief. I grew aware of the bankruptcy of theories, of the theories of intellectuals as well as artists. L'art pour l'art and other grave problems no longer gave me a headache; they seemed to me so much bosh hand interested me as little as platonic love.
    • p. 17-18
  • My father was a violinist, my mother a pianist. I was born into a world of music.. .The practicing of my father's pupils accompanied every thought and action of my childish life.. ..Then when I was thirty [c. 1906], my career as musician was brought to an end by Vollard [art-dealer in Paris] who bought all the pictures I possessed, pictures which I had painted over several years with unbounded enthusiasm during such hours of freedom as I was able to spare between [music]-lessons to my pupils.
    • p. 27
  • I always look at everything with the eyes of a child. I feel enthusiastic for things today fort he same reasons as I was enthusiastic about them as a child.. .I remember one summer morning when I was twelve years old [1888], I was with my father. We were following a road which crossed the plain from Rueil to Croissy. The whole plain was a solid field of corn and the ears stood higher than my head. I still retain today the impression of the vast expanse, spangled with flowers and filled with the drone of insects. Often, later on, I have tried to recapture, to fix firmly in my mind once again, the impression of that world around me, of the sun which burns my face and hands.. .Every time a see a field of corn I an reminded of that morning.
    • p. 18-19
  • For me, the discovery of the outside-world, dates from my acquisition of a bicycle [c. 1892]. I spent whole days on the high-roads. I rode through villages, towns and the country-side. I tasted dust; rain poured down on me; I struggled against the wind. With my cycle I was able to visit places never dreamed of.. ..thanks to my bicycle I saw fort he first time the whole of the valley of the Seine from Chatou to Havre, Mantes, Bonnières, Rouen, Duyclair and Tancarville.
    • p. 46
  • All this countryside [along the Seine] was calm and peaceful. The strongest emotions I have experienced on the high roads or on the hill tops whence I could see down into the valleys on to the roofs of houses which I felt I could reach out and touch with my hand.. And then I was tempted to begin painting [c. 1893 - 17 years old].. .I composed instinctively and awkwardly. I applied colors with only one idea which justified everything: to express what I felt. I painted hesitantly and exclusively for myself and no one else. It seemed to me that water, sky, clouds and trees understood the happiness they gave me.
    • p. 46
  • It was only in the evenings that I played the violin [c. 1999-1901, to earn his money for living]. During the day I was free to spend my time as I wished. With a few colours in a box, a canvas and a cheap easel under my arm, I would make my way to the Banks of the Seine.. .I painted to restore my peace of mind, to calm my desires and, above all, to purify myself a little.. .Make a career of painting. How I would have laughed if someone had talked to me about that! To be a painter is not a profession, no more than being an anarchist or a lover, a race-track rider..
    • p. 66

Quotes about Maurice de Vlaminck[edit]

sorted chronologically, by date of the quotes about Maurice de Vlaminck
  • with.. ..a personal poetry and romanticism that is often gloomy and even violent, Vlaminck's pictures have a formal logic, an underlying strength of organization that derives from more than one classical precedent.
    • Quote of Patrick Heron, 1947; as cited in 'Dangerous Corner', Maurice de Vlaminck; transl. after 'Tournant Dangereux, 1929', by Michael Ross]; Abelard-Schuman Limited, New York, 1966, p. 20

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