Lilacs with Cups of Milk

Kees Van Dongen (Dutch, 1877 - 1968)

1909. Oil on canvas, 44 3/16 x 36 7/8". 1991.001.074

This painting is typical of Kees Van Dongen’s controlled elegance combined with the expressive intensity of the Fauves. His is a privileged world, evoking la belle époch of Paris before World War I. The tall vase of lilacs hovers uncertainly, its bottom not visible. The uneven circular shape of blue behind the blossoms is echoed in the table- top, which is almost the same color. The shape is echoed also in the saucer and in the little rug upon which the cat sleeps. The shape of the cup and saucer and the hand holding them is repeated neatly in the curled cat with its round head and ears and paw.

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