BASEL.- The Kunstmuseum Basel
announced that seven outstanding works of art, mainly by artists associated with the Fauve movement, are being shown on permanent loan. The works enhance an aspect of the museum’s collection of French Modernism that until now has been of lesser prominence than its first-rate holdings of Cubist art. From 4 July 2020, six of the paintings by André Derain, Georges Braque, Maurice de Vlaminck, and others, went on display on the second floor of the Hauptbau as part of the reinstallation of classic modernist art. In addition, a key painting by Gabriele Münter has also been acquired from the lenders’ collection.
The following paintings are to be shown in Basel for the first time:
• André Derain, Pêcheurs à Collioure (Fishermen at Collioure), 1905
• Maurice de Vlaminck, Bords de la Seine à Carrières-sur-Seine (Soleil de Printemps –
Bord de Seine), 1906
• Georges Braque, Port de L'Estaque (Port of L'Estaque), 1906
• Raoul Dufy, Les Passantes (The Passers-by), c.1906-07
• Kees van Dongen, Portrait de Dolly (Portrait of Dolly), c.1910
• Albert Marquet, Bord de la Seine à Paris en hiver, vu de l'atelier du peintre, c.1924
• Gabriele Münter, Murnauer Strasse (Street in Murnau), 1908
These paintings are from a Swiss private collection of Fauvist works. Fauvism is a style of painting developed by Henri Matisse and André Derain during 1905 in the seaside town of Collioure in the south of France. Shocked by the new style’s unrestrained and richly contrasting colours, a Parisian art critic labelled it the art of wild beasts (“fauves” in French).
For almost twenty years, several of these paintings were on permanent loan to London’s Courtauld Gallery, now closed for a major transformation project. In offering these works to the Kunstmuseum Basel on permanent loan, the collection’s owners are delighted that they are able to fill a gap in the museum’s already exceptional collection.
Derain’s Pêcheurs à Collioure is an early Fauvist work and represents a fine complement to another of his works already held by the museum that he had painted a short time before, Les vignes au printemps (1904/05). The Im Obersteg Collection already contains one painting by de Vlaminck that reveals the influence of Cézanne (L’inondation, 1910). The new accession, a vibrantly-coloured riverscape, reveals the artist’s closeness to Derain, who in fact had encouraged de Vlaminck to take up painting.
Georges Braque was a trained painter-decorator who met Henri Matisse, Albert Marquet, and André Derain when they exhibited their Fauvist works at the Salon des Indépendants in spring 1906, the year Braque produced both Port d’Anvers, a harbour scene in the collection of the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation, and Port de l’Estaque, the museum’s new accession. Besides his early Cubist work that he began to produce soon after visiting a Cézanne retrospective and meeting Picasso, these two paintings allow us to see the radical change in Braque’s pictorial language.
Braque and Raoul Dufy were connected through Le Havre, and worked together closely. Dufy’s atmospheric view of Le Havre from 1906/07, already in the museum’s collection, will find a companion in Les Passantes, also 1906/07, a vibrantly-coloured work of reduced, emblematic form that reveals Dufy’s ability to move effortlessly between styles.
Kees van Dongen associated himself with the Fauves in 1905 and was a neighbour of Picasso’s in the Bateau-Lavoir artists’ residence in Paris. As part of this agreement, the Museum can now show the portrait of his young daughter Dolly.
Acquisition of a painting by Gabriele Münter
The lenders are seeking to become long-term patrons of the Kunstmuseum Basel. Their wish has already found expression in a generous gesture on their part: the Museum has enjoyed preferential terms for its purchase of Gabriele Münter’s Murnauer Strasse (1908). This important painting allows the Museum to strengthen its holdings of works of early German Expressionism. Examples of the work of Vassily Kandinsky and Alexei von Jawlensky from Murnau and the early days of Der Blaue Reiter already exisit within the Im Obersteg Collection. Gabriele Münter’s colourful street scene with its accents of luminous yellow represents an ideal and very welcome addition to that ensemble within the Public Art Collection of Basel.