Maurice de Vlaminck
(Paris, 1876-1958, Rueil-la-Gadelière)
Still Life with Oranges, ca. 1907/08
Oil on canvas, 44.5 x 54 cm
Signed lower left: Vlaminck

Vlaminck is at the height of his powers with this still life done in 1907/08; the colours are saturated and deeply luminous. They are not applied in patches and do not come trailing out of the tube, but are densely articulated. The deep blue of the two jugs at the right and the shining yellow of the lemons contrast with the vigorous red of the cloth; a patterned tea service mediates between the contrasting colours. The objects, however, possess not only luminosity, they also have their weight and volume, thrown into relief by a bright light falling from the left. We know how greatly Vlaminck was impressed at the exhibition at Bernheim Jeune’s in 1901 by van Gogh, how his painting was influenced thereby, but we need only think back to van Gogh’s still life with the coffee-pot of 1888, a particularly close comparison to our picture, in order to realize the chromatic restriction to blue and yellow shades there and the chromatic fortissimo here, the effect of compositional distance in van Gogh and the vital clustering of objects here in this painting. The Flemish-French Vlaminck has here succeeded in investing modest everyday things with luminousness and intense life.