The Locks at BougivalEnlarge image

The Locks at Bougival, 1906

Maurice de Vlaminck
French, 1876 - 1958
oil on canvas
54 x 65 cm
Purchased 1951
National Gallery of Canada (no. 5783)
© Estate of Maurice Vlaminck / SODRAC (2013)

Maurice de Vlaminck had little academic training when he participated in the Salon d'Automne in 1905 with other Fauve painters, including André Derain, with whom he shared a studio near Chatou, west of Paris. Bougival is located on the Seine south of Chatou, where the Impressionists painted vacationing Parisians swimming, boating, and dancing during the 1870s and 1880s. In the "Locks of Bougival", however, Vlaminck portrays the quieter autumn season, transforming a scene of two figures strolling along the edge of the locks into a fireworks display of red, blue, and orange tones.

Marks and Labels 

– label: “La Peau de l'Ours: no. 97, Vlaminck, Les Ecluses à Bougival, 1907”

– label: “E.J. Wisselingh & Co. Amsterdam, no.7139”

– in black felt-tip pen on the right side of the stretcher: “Graupe 3” or “Groupe 3”

– Dallas exhibition label 1957

– Edmonton Art Gallery label “The Fauve Heritage”, exhibition 1977


by 1914/03
André Level (d. 1946), Paris, France, and twelve other investors [1]

In auction of “Collection de la Peau de l'Ours. ”Hotel Drouot, Paris, France, March 2, 1914, lot no. 87 [2]

Dr. Werner Rusche, Cologne, Germany [3]

E.J. Van Wisselingh & Co., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, purchased from Dr. W. Rusche [4]

1951/06/01 –

National Gallery of Canada, purchased from E.J. Van Wisselingh [5]


[1] The painting carries a “Peau de l'Ours” label on its stretcher [see marks and labels]. In 1904, André Level, a French financier, motivated twelve other investors to contribute two hundred and twelve francs apiece to an investment fund he called “La Peau de l'Ours” (“the bear's skin”), which was targeted at modern art. Over the next ten years, the fund bought more than a hundred paintings and drawings, including major works by artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, before selling off its entire collection in an auction, held at the Hôtel Drouot, in Paris, on March 2, 1914. Level most likely bought the painting from the artist.

[2] See note [1]. The “Peau de l'Ours” sales catalogue does not include a reproduction of the painting, but the description: “Symphonie en vert et rouge. Un pré à droite bordé de grands arbres ocre et vermillion. Plus loin, un canal, quelques chalands et des maisons". The dimensions given also match it [“Collection de la Peau de l'Ours, Tableaux Modernes”, Hotel Drouot, Paris, March 2, 1914, p. 51, here lot no. 87 instead of no. 97 as on the label].

[3] Dr. Werner Rusche is listed as former owner in the stockbook of the Dutch art dealer E.J. Van Wisselingh & Co., Amsterdam, The Netherlands [Van Wisselingh archive, stock number 7139, Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Dokumentatie, The Hague, The Netherlands]. Rusche established a gallery for German Modern Art in Cologne in 1946.

[4] See note [3]. A label by Van Wisselingh with the same stock number can be found on the stretcher of the painting. According to the NGC's accession log, The Locks at Bougival officially entered the NGC collection on June 1, 1951.

[5] Accession Log [NGC curatorial file].

Research in progress



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