In 1908 in Paris, two one-man exhibitions celebrated the work of Kees Van Dongen: one at Galeries Kahnweiler in March, the other at MM. Bernheim Jeune in November/December.
At MM. Bernheim-Jeune, Van Dongen showed 89 works: 64 paintings, which appeared dated from 1892 to 1902 and by chronological order in the catalogue, 11 watercolors, 1 pastel, 3 sculptures, 9 ceramic works, and a portrait of the artist by his brother Jean Van Dongen. Marius and Ary Leblond, writers, journalists, and art critics, wrote a laudatory preface to the catalogue: “The talent and originality of Kees Van Dongen, with his undulating lines and harlequin-like colors, reach a complex virtuosity in the portrayal of faces, bodies, and movements of acrobats, clowns, jesters, and horsewomen.” The exhibition enjoyed both critical accolade and commercial success. A year later, on November 29, 1909, Van Dongen signed a seven-year contract with MM. Bernheim Jeune. Yet the relationship between the artist and his dealers became strained as early as 1912, leading to a complete dissolution of their partnership in 1916.