Maurice de Vlaminck - Ballon à Pontoise
Maurice de Vlaminck
Ballon à Pontoise
Oil on canvas 38 x 46.5 cm Framed. Signed 'Vlaminck' in black lower left. - Upper margin with two very minor, professionally restored losses of colour.
In his memoirs Maurice de Vlaminck expresses particular regret about the extensive possibilities of modern civilisation with regard to travel or, more specifically, the problem-free arrival at destinations, which no longer opens up any space for visual artists' imagination:
“The new means which are available to modern life and enable travellers to get from one country to another, to go from north to south and from west to east, all of the diversions and temptations offered to their hand and mind, all of these quickly destroy the creative possibilities of even the most gifted artist. [...] The novelties discovered, even if the entire world were to be traversed, are actually just the superficial impressions of a tourist! The result is light goods, created without risk and without effort, because whatever we undertake, we bear the genuine creative possibilities within and with us, in our head, heart and luggage” (Rückblick in letzter Stunde. Menschen und Zeiten, St. Gallen 1965, p. 87).
Within the context of this feared loss of fantasy through the increased mobility brought about by cars or the cinema, for example, the painting offered here directly suggests a metaphor for his critique of civilisation - beyond its depiction of an actual event. The journey with the hot-air balloon, which the Montgolfier brothers had developed in France in the 1780s, initially seemed so disquieting to those responsible for it that they placed a chicken, a duck and a sheep in its basket as passengers. It is readily apparent that, just under 150 years later, the adventure of travelling by balloon had lost none of its charm for Vlaminck - after all, it still remained a vehicle that was rather difficult to steer and did not always reach its destination.
The work will be included in the catalogue raisonné of paintings by Maurice de Vlaminck under preparation by the Wildenstein Institute (Ref. Nr. 3671)
With a certificate from the Wildenstein Institute, Paris, dated 3 October 2006
Collection Carlotta Hasse, Bremen; Private collection, Moscow
Veröffentlichungen des Kunstarchivs Nr. 20, Berlin 1926, Maurice de Vlaminck, p. 24 with full-page ill. (exh. cat. Berlin 1926 Galerie Alfred Flechtheim); Georges Duhamel, Maurice de Vlaminck, Paris 1927, illustration section
Berlin 1926 (Galerie Flechtheim), Maurice de Vlaminck, cat. no. 23 "Der Luftballon", p. 24 with ill. (frame label verso)