Lovers of Fauvism and of art in general will want to visit the Museu Picasso in Barcelona for the first ever retrospective in Spain of the work of Kees van Dongen (Rotterdam, 1877 – Monaco, 1968), which offers a whole new perspective on the artist thanks to the findings of important recent research, and presents a number of hitherto all-but-unknow works.
This retrospective, opened from 11 June to September 2009, co-produced by the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco and the Museu Picasso de Barcelona and curated by Jean-Michael Bouhours, former curator of the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco and currently director of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and Pepe Serra, director of the Museu Picasso, brings together almost 80 works by Van Dongen and four by Picasso, as testimony to the relationship between the two artists.
Photo of Fernande Olivier. Caption: One of the points of contact between Van Dongen and Picasso was a woman: Fernande Olivier, Picasso’s companion, who modelled for both artists.
Fernande Olivier, one of Picasso’s first loves, was also one of Van Dongen’s favourite models. We know from Fernande’s autobiographical writings that she and Picasso used to go to the Cirque Médrano in Paris with Van Dongen and his wife. The two couples were close: they lived in the same building, the legendary Bateau-Lavoir, and Van Dongen’s daughter Dolly called Picasso “Tablo” instead of Pablo, as you can see from Fernande’s manuscript, which forms part of the retrospective.
Also included in the show are the poirtraits thet the two artists painted of their respective fathers. One important thing that these men of the late 19th century had in common is that they were sufficiently far-sighted tosee beyond the social conventions of their day and support their sons Cornelis Theodorus Marie (known familiary as Kees) and Pablo in their artistic careers.
“I shall remember this project all my life; it’s very special to me,” says Isabel, the coordinator of the exhibition -the first she has coordinated on her own. “I’ve been working on it for a year and a half; all of the works reached the museum in perfect condition, we have everything ready, and the only thing we have to worry about now is whether the public will like the show”.
The last exhibition of Van Dongen’s work in Barcelona was at the “Galeries Dalmau” in 1915. Are you really willing to wait another 100 years? don’t miss this chance!
Would you like to see more exclusive photos of the transporting and unpacking of the works? Go to the Flickr album.