First exhibition of Kees Van Dongen at MM. Bernheim Jeune, 15 rue Richepanse, Paris, (November 25–Decembre 8, 1908)

  • Kees Van Dongen, La Femme au collier, oil on canvas, 100.3 x 81.3 cm
  • Cover of the exhibition catalogue

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.

Page 17 of the exhibition catalogue
Label of the MM. Bernheim-Jeune exhibition on the back of the canvas for La Femme au collier [number 52]

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.

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