Fauvism

The art movement Fauvism arrived as the twentieth-century dawned but only lasted a few years. In 1905 Henri Matisse & André Derain had been painting together in the Mediterranean village of Collioure. Later in the year, the critic Louis Vauxcelles saw their works exhibited at the Salon d’Automme with the vivid, unnatural colours causing him to label them les Fauves (the wild beasts) and so the movement was formed. This is Matisse's painting (Woman with a Hat) that caused such a stir.
And this is one of Derain's works from the same exhibition. It is titled Le sechage des voiles (The Drying Sails).
To understand the changes taking place we need to take a quick look at the Post-Impressionists who had a wide range of individual styles but extended Impressionism by using vivid colours but in unnatural light and more geometric forms which were often distorted. They sought to create a window into the artist's mind rather than onto the outside world.

This is one of Cezanne's most famous paintings, Table, Napkin, and Fruit (A Corner of the Table) done during his Post-Impressionism period 1895-1900. Note the structure & order in the composition & the interrelationships between the colours and shapes. Cezanne has also played around with perspective and created a double view. This style also influenced Picasso's creation of cubism which we will look at next.
But back to the Fauves and André Derain who was sent by the art dealer Ambrose Vollard to paint scenes of London. The result (30 paintings) attracted much attention as they were so radically different to anything done before especially in the use of bold, vibrant colours. They really are quite magical so I will share a few with you. The first is Charing Cross Bridge.

And this one is Pool of London.
And Big Ben.

Another exponent of Fauvism was Raoul Dufy (1877–1953) whom I delighted to say painted horses so back to our original theme.

And we must not forget the Dutch painters, especially as one of my subscribers has Dutch heritage. Here is an example from Kees van Dongen a Dutch-French artist known for his almond-eyed women & bourgeois leisure scenes. Here is his Woman with Flowered Hat.

One of Fauvism's central artistic concerns was to achieve an overall balance in the composition as exemplified in Matisse's Bonheur de Vivre (Joy of Life). And the Fauves wanted the immediate visual effect of their paintings to be bold and unified whilst maintaining the artist's individual expression.

If you are particularly interested in Matisse there is an excellent chronological summary of his works on Wikipedia and you can see his style changing.

The Hero Image today is a slice from Mountains at Collioure painted by Andre Derain (1905). I rather like his work and its time he got a little of the attention. I will use Twitter tomorrow to publicise his contribution to the world of art.

Fauvism proved to be an important precursor to Cubism and Expressionism. In fact it served as a base for all future modes of abstract art. I know of at least two Fauves who became Cubists - George Braque who was a founder of Cubism with Picasso and Jean Metzinger. More on these painters tomorrow.

Anne Newman

Oil Painter in realistic genre style, predominantly buildings and people. To continue the discussion contact Anne on anewman@netspace.net.au or phone +61 407 516 522

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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