In 1904 important Paris art dealer Ambroise Vollard requested van Dongen participated in the Salon des Indépendants. Over two thousand works were exhibited by hundreds of artists including Henri MatisseRobert Delaunay and van Dongen.

The following year, van Dongen took part in the controversial 1905 Salon d'Automne exhibition. This was the year that Fauvism was launched. Radical uses of colour by the likes of van Dogen were labelled the Fauves (Wild Beasts) by art critic Louis Vauxcelles.

Kess van Dongen Portrait de femme, Pochoir, 1925, signed in the plate, ref. Juffermanns JB5, 26cm x 19cm, framed and glazed. Lots Road Kess van Dongen Portrait de femme, Pochoir, 1925, signed in the plate, ref. Juffermanns JB5, 26cm x 19cm, framed and glazed. Lots Road

That same year, van Dongen moved to Bateau-Lavoir, a dilapidated building in Montmartre that was home to many aspiring artists who would go on to be the greats of the 20th century, including Pablo Picasso.

From 1905 to 1910, van Dongen explored women and the nightlife of Paris, painting dancers, theatre-performers and even prostitutes, earning him the name of ''the painter of brothels.''

His sumptuous portraits of women were surprisingly popular with high society women. His use of unblended colours and the Fauvist and Expressionist techniques he used to create women with large, dark eyes often meant that all his subjects would become one women, a sort of van Dongen representation of femininity. He described his craft of painting as "the most beautiful of lies.''

80971650-f607-11e6-953b-5411a1754822 Brigitte Bardot and Kees van Dongen in his studio

As well as being in the demand of the French bourgeoisie and upper class, van Dongen painted some of the 20th century's most sensuous women, including dancer Josephine Baker, who he painted in 1926, and actress Brigitte Bardot in 1959.

11845_1_l Kees van Dongen, Brigitte Bardot, 1958

5382576852_11ce1d0427_b Kees van Dongen, Josephine Baker, 1925

Coming up in Lots Road's on 25th February is Portrait de femme, a signed plate from 1925 by Kees Van Dongen. Check out more here.

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