Lot n° 1
4000 - 5000
APOLLINAIRE Guillaume (1880-1918)
Van Dongen, signed autograph manuscript.
S.d. March 1918], 4 pages small infolio in brown ink on chamois paper.
Beautiful evocation of the art of Kees Van Dongen on the occasion of an exhibition of his works at the Paul Guillaume gallery (1730 March 1918). This first draft manuscript, with erasures and corrections, was used to print the article, which appeared on 15 March 1918 in the first issue of the magazine Les Arts à Paris, actualités critiques et littéraires des arts et de la curiosité, founded by the gallery owner Paul Guillaume, and of which Apollinaire was the editor of the first two issues, before his death on 9 November 1918, eight months after this article. Apollinaire, OEuvres en prose complètes, Pléiade, t. II, pp. 1404-1406].
Apollinaire gives his impressions after a visit, one morning in February, to Van Dongen's studio: "The austere ardor of the contemporary arts has generally banished everything that leads to delirium of the senses. Today everything that touches on sensual pleasure is surrounded by grandeur and silence. It survives among Van Dongen's oversized figures of sudden and desperate colours. The flamboyance of the make-up eyes brings out the novelty of yellows and roses, the spiritual purity of cobalts or endlessly degraded ultramarines, the passion ready to die of brilliant reds. ...] This colourist was the first to draw a high-pitched glow from electric lighting and add it to the shades. The result is a drunkenness, a dazzle, a vibration, and the colour, retaining an extraordinary individuality, fades, flattens, fades away without ever darkening the idea of shadow alone. ...] This painter does not express life in incandescent colours, but he translates it with vehement precision. European or exotic as he likes, Van Dongen has a personal and violent feeling for orientalism. This painting often smells of opium and amber. The immensely enlarged eyes seem to be the abysses of sensuality where joy merges with pain [...]
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