Vlaminck was born in Paris and from his earliest days was compelled to rebel against all forms of conformity. Descended from a family which encouraged independence, he was reared to forge his own way in the world and pursue his personal passions. A man of great physical strength with a natural talent for music, from an early age he supported himself and his family as a professional violinist and cyclist. But he was always drawn to paint.
Around 1900, Vlaminck met artist Andre Derain, within whom he discovered a kindred spirit. Powered by the same love of rebellion and disregard for establishment, together with Paul Signac and Henri Matisse, they helped create a new movement in art known as Fauvism. To these men, it no longer mattered if trees were green, nor the sky blue. They sought and pursued artistic freedom with a vengeance and work done in this style was highlighted by pure and clashing colors and lively brushstrokes.
During the latter part of his life, Vlaminck's use of color became more representational, yet he continued to enliven canvases with raw emotion.