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Maurice de Vlaminck was a self-taught artist, born in 1876 in Paris to parents who were itinerant musicians. He grew up with André Derain, and the two artists were sharing a studio by 1899. In the ensuing years, he met and was influenced by Henri Matisse, began a collection of African masks, and became friendly with Pablo Picasso.

Vlaminck and Derain painted side by side in 1906. Vlaminck adopted Vincent Van Gogh's bright color, and began painting with open brushstrokes so loose that eventually he began applying paint directly onto the canvas from the tube. This early body of work epitomizes the Fauve revolution.

By 1908, Vlaminck grew dissatisfied with the formlessness of his early style. He turned his attention to the work of Paul Cézanne and adopted a darker palette, painting many landscapes rendered in a personal expressionist style. Later, by 1920, he turned to a more realistic yet still vigorous style. His late work is predominantly still lifes and landscapes, colorful but often brooding in spirit.