Kees van Dongen (1877-1968)
Born in 1877 in the Netherlands, Kees Van Dongen was a naturalised Dutch painter. From 1892, he trained at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam. In 1897, he spent a period in Paris and frequented the Montmartre circles where he met Picasso. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began exhibiting at the Salon des Indépendants, with the dealer Ambroise Vollard and in the Salon d'Automne. He frequented Maurice de Vlaminck and Henri Matisse, with whom he formed the “Fauves” group, a movement he subsequently abandoned around 1913. After the war, he became a fashionable painter and a portraitist of rich and famous society, during a period that he himself dubbed his “cocktail period”. In October 1941, he took part in a study trip to Nazi Germany organised by Arno Becker in the company of Derain, Despiau and Vlaminck, which caused him to be boycotted by French artistic circles after the Second World War. He moved to Monaco and participated in two exhibitions abroad, before dying in May 1968.