The Blue Dress
Kees van Dongen (1877 - 1968), Paris, in or before 1911
oil on canvas,
146.2 cm x 114.4 cm
Credits: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (purchased with support from the VriendenLoterij)
c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2023
The Dutch painter Kees van Dongen married Augusta (Guus) Preitinger in 1901 and painted this almost life-sized painting ten years later. She gazes provocatively through her eyelashes, her hand placed nonchalantly on her hip.
Although this is a portrait of Van Dongen’s wife, it is her bright blue dress that steals the show. It contrasts strongly with Guus’s pale complexion and the red background, causing it to leap out of the canvas. Van Dongen painted the shadows on his wife’s arms and neck in bright green.
Working with areas of solid colour and bold contrasts is a typical feature of this artist’s work. The painting was directly inspired by Van Gogh’s bright colours and expressive brushwork.