Maurice de Vlaminck
Rue de Village
Oil on canvas 64.5 x 80.8 cm Framed. Signed 'Vlaminck' in black lower left. - Cleaned, small, older colour losses professionally restored. Slight craqueleur in places.
This large-format composition dated to the 1920s is captivating not only because of the perspectival gesture leading into it, which is not lacking in grandeur, but also because of the dramatic and expressive brushstroke so typical of Maurice Vlaminck's work. At the same time, the subject selected for the painting could not be more commonplace and shows a rural village landscape: we recognise an obviously unpaved street lined with the plain gables of the irregularly placed farmers' homesteads and old sheds as well as a windblown wooden fence surrounding a piece of green fallow land. The centre of the picture is accentuated through the coloured silhouette of a peasant woman and two towering electricity poles. While dark, earthy colours dominate, they are certainly mixed with other tones - particularly with a bright white, which adds vibrant highlights to the painting. The motif is additionally enriched with strong tones like yellow, red and blue-green, which rid the landscape of its heaviness. In an inimitable manner, the artist has succeeded in depicting a picturesquely dynamic atmosphere, which communicates itself directly to the viewer.
“When I came to La Perche, I had to adjust myself to living in its climate and attune my painting to my feelings. Coming from the suburban landscape of Chatou and Bougival the atmosphere of the landscape, where the earth is absolute ruler, initially disoriented me with its tremendous vastness. Here everything is big ... one ... simple, rich in essential colour and drawing. The horizon is endless; the villages, houses and walls, everything is of an earthy colour, everything built of earth. Earth and sky ... an immeasurable sky that sinks down to the horizon like a gigantic roof. [...] Low roofs, walls made of loam or fieldstone. Green meadows, black poplars, beech trees, rickety nut trees, hornbeams with reddish leaves that change colours according to the season and time of day. To be able to paint that! And to convey the simultaneously cheerful and tragic, fleeting and eternal atmosphere that lives forever in this reality!” (Maurice de Vlaminck, Rückblick in letzter Stunde, Menschen und Zeiten, St Gallen 1965, p. 103; original Fr. Edition Paris 1943).
The work will be included in the critical oeuvre catalogue of Maurice Vlaminck by the Wildenstein Institute, Paris, currently under preperation. With a photo-certificate by Maïthé Vallès-Bled dated 21 March 2016 (archive no. 16.03.21/12519, ref. 4622)
Formerly collection Arno Breker, Düsseldorf, estate