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Kees Van Dongen played a decisive role in the great artistic upheavals of the early 20th century as a member of the Fauvist movement. This exhibition shows the artist’s evolution from his student years to the peak of his career and evokes many of his aesthetic ties and exchanges with Picasso, with whom he temporarily shared the Bateau-Lavoir. Born in a suburb of Rotterdam, Van Dongen’s career was spent mainly in Paris where he came to live in 1897.

The virulence and extravagance of his canvases provoked repercussions abroad, particularly within the Die Brücke German expressionist movement. Together with his orientalism, contemporary with that of Matisse, this places Van Dongen at the very forefront of the avant-garde. His bold and vibrant works – often compared to “prodigious orgies of light, heat and colour” – testify to the affirmation of his own style within the history of modern art, alongside Matisse and Picasso.

The exhibition has been designed chronologically and includes examples of the artist’s work in different fields: painting, of course – in which, wrote Elie Faure, Van Dongen “wrote the sensual poem of the world” – but also illustration and graphic work. Assembled in the light of new research and including previously little-known works, the exhibition also provides a new perspective on the artist.

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    The exhibition is displayed in 7 rooms following a chronological presentation and the hall, where the connection between Van Dongen and Barcelona is explained.
    It presents 78 works by Van Dongen and 4 by Picasso, plus historical documentation.

    0. Hall: Kees Van Dongen AND Barcelona
    1. Between Rotterdam and Paris. The Formative Years
    2. Paris, Drawing
    3. From Tachisme to Fauvism 
    4. Le Bateau-Lavoir.With Picasso and Fernande
    5. Els anys “fauves”
    6. Exoticism
    7. The ‘Années Folles’

    Chief Curators: Jean-Michel Bouhours, chief curator of Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, París and ex-director of the Nouveau Musée National de Mònaco, and Pepe Serra, director of the Museu Picasso, Barcelona.

    Visit the exhibition rooms
  • Events


    París, fin du siècle, by Carme Arrufat

    Representative sample of the music by flute written between end of the 19th century and beginning of the XXth.
    Organization: ESMUC, Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya
    Venue: Museu Picasso, courtyard
    Date: 20 June 7,30 pm.
    Admission free, Booking recommended


    From Demimonde to Beau Monde: The Arc of Van Dongen’s Portraiture
    By John Klein, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
    Like other Fauve painters in the first decade of the 20th century, Kees Van Dongen challenged convention in both subject matter and style. Largely through the portrait, he moved from shock to success by his skill in transfiguring Fauvism’s artificiality and transgression into an accessible manner, with an appeal beyond the avant-garde. Not only did portraiture make his reputation, it ensured Van Dongen’s own place in the fashionable milieu of his later sitters, as he became an important society portrait painter in the 1920s and 1930s.
    Date 2 July 7 pm.
    Admission free, Booking

    Children’s Workshop

    Addressed to children from 6 to 12 years old

    Participatory workshop to know more about fauvism, Van Dongen, and his relationship with Picasso. The children will be working with diverse materials to create a portrait. Length: 3h. Including a visit to the exhibition

    Sessions and timetable:
    Sundays: June 21 and 28; July 5, 12 and 20
    10,30 am. – 13,30 pm.. Price: 2€. Booking required

    Guided Tours

  • Exhibition catalogue

    Catalogue of the first retrospective exhibition of the artist Kees Van Dongen in Spain. Structured by four groups of images, the catalogue revises the path of the Dutch artist, highlighting his relation with Picasso and with Fernande, sentimental partner of Picasso and model of Van Dongen. It also recovers Francesc Fontbona's article in which there is analyzed the repercussion that the Van Dongen exhibition in 1915 in the Galleries Dalmau of Barcelona had in the press and intellectual of the moment.

    • It can be purchased in the Museu Picasso shop, price: 27 € or
      buy it online

      Curators: Jean-Michel Bouhours y Pepe Serra
      Authors: Christian Briend, Jean-Michel Bouhours, Emmanuelle Capra, Isabel Cendoya, Francesc Fontbona, Anita Hopmans
      Year: 2009
      Pages: 220
      Languages: Catalan & Spanish
      Size: 29 x 23 cm
      Editor: Institut de Cultura. Museu Picasso de Barcelona. The English and French edition: Éditions Hazan
      Spanish: 978-84-9850-165-0,
      Catalan: 978-84-9850-162-9

  • Press

  • Credits

    • Organisation and production: Museu Picasso, Barcelona
    • Chief Curators: Jean-Michel Bouhours and Pepe Serra
    • Exhibition Coordinator: Isabel Cendoya with the assistance of Ester Galimany
    • Research: Isabel Cendoya and Margarida Cortadella
    • Conservation: Reyes Jiménez and Anna Vélez
    • Register: Isabel Cendoya and Anna Fàbregas
    • Design: Guri_Casajuana
    • Graphic Design: Marnich Associates
    • Press and Communication: Manel Baena and Anna Bru de Sala
    • the exhibition Kees Van Dongen is a coproduction by the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal and the Musée National de Mónaco, in cooperation with the Museu Picasso de Barcelona