Van Dongen was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands where he studied at the Akademie voor Beelende Kunsten of Rotterdam where he created somber-toned, Rembrandt inspired landscapes. He moved to Paris in 1897 where he frequented the bars and cabarets of Montmartre and soon found affiliation amongst the Fauvists Henri Matisse, Maurice de Vlaminck, and André Derain. Van Dongen was known for his vibrant paintings and prints of almond-eyed women and bourgeois leisure scenes, some of his most notable work depicting fashionable celebrities, including Brigitte Bardot. His use of color and expressive line became integral to his style and in 1926 he was inducted into the French Legion of Honor. Today his works are held in the collections of the MoMA in New York, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris.