This painting dates from a period when Kees van Dongen’s Fauve paintings – mostly of women sensuously described in vibrant colour and rich impasto – met with sufficient commercial success in Paris (where he had settled in 1899) to allow him to travel to Spain and Morocco. Van Dongen’s Mediterranean experience heightened his palette with warm, saturated and harmonious hues. His continued allegiance to colour as the expressive force in his paintings distanced the ambitious Van Dongen – along with Henri Matisse – from the Cubists, who were increasingly taking centre stage in the Parisian avant-garde art world. In Parakeet, the strong presence of the diagonal pattern of the tiles (or tablecloth) and the vertical and horizontal lines of the birdcage parallel to the picture plane is unusual and perhaps unique, in this artist’s body of work. From the grid of the cage, a vibrant spot of “Fauve” colour emerges as the bird pops its head out of the linear framework in which it is confined, set off by the gentle folds of blue and white fabric behind.