Maurice de Vlaminck, a self-taught artist, was one of the creators of the Fauvism style. He was notorious for his brash temperament and as a “jack of all trades,” having tried his hand as a musician, actor, racing cyclist, and novelist; however, painting was his true passion, yet adamantly shunning academic training save for a few drawing lessons. It was not until 1900 when de Vlaminck met painter André Derain, who became a lifelong friend and later shared a studio with after their tour in the French military.
After being awestruck by the beautiful yet powerful brushstrokes and daring unnatural colors used by van Gogh in an exhibition in 1901, de Vlaminck began experimenting with thick daubs of pure intense color directly from the tube. In a later controversial group exhibition of Derain, Matisse and himself at the Salon d’ Automne, a critic called them fauves or wild beasts, due to their bold eccentric color and impulsive erratic manner of style. Despite the critic’s snarky labeling, Vlaminck’s paintings were in high demand and he began selling everything he created.
In 1907, he was inspired by Paul Cezanne and began to emulate his works, adopting a more subdued palette, solid compositions, and landscapes. After the First World War, Vlaminck moved to countryside, painting rural scenes in a relatively dramatic but orderly style.