27 October 2011


The name given to short-lived phase in the modern art movement. At the 1905 Salon d'Automne in Paris several young artists, led by Henri Matisse, offered the first collective expression of this new influence. Full, vivid colour to the point of violence, the pictures compelled attention and provoked scandalised protests. In the same gallery a small bronze in the Italian renaissance manner prompted Louise Vauxcelles, the critic, to describe it as "a Donatello among the wild beasts" (chez les fauves) - from which the epithet fauvism was coined.

Typical of the fauvist manner was an exultant handling of brilliant pigment. Imitative colour was rejected. Colour instead of light and shade, was used to illuminate the picture surface; and colour shapes were related, rather than contained, by flowing lines. Each separate element was exploited to intensify the expressiveness of the whole. At first paint was applied in a pointillist style, later in areas of flat decorative colour. The main influences which still permeated the movement were the acutely personal vision of van Gogh, the rich bold designs of Gauguin and the prevailing taste of Oriental and primitive art.

Fauvism evolved no creed and proposed no programme. It sprang up among a group of burning enthusiasts, all of whom endorsed similar aesthetic theories and technical innovations without submerging their individuality's.

Outstanding in the movement were Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Charles Camoin, Andrés Derain, Kees van Dongen, Raoul Dufy, Othon Friesz, Henri Manguin, Albert Marquet, Jean Puy, Maurice de Vlaminck
Matisse - Jazz: Icarus, 1943
Braque - Two Birds on Blue Bottom, 1963

Charles Camoin, Bouquet of Flowers

Andres Derain, Charin Cross Bridge, 1906
Kees van Dongen, Le Carrousel, 1963
Raoul Duffy, The Basin at Deauville
Othon Friesz, Paysage da la Ciotat, 1907
Henri Manguin, Jeanne resting at Villa, 1905
Albert Marquet, Barques des Pecheur, 1906
Jean Puy, Un Fauve en Bretagne, 1906

Maurice de Vlaminck, Les Pecheurs a Nanterre, 1906

Plenty of inspiration, interest and artists to research here. I have discovered that my specific interest in Modern Art falls in the period 1945-1960 but it is interesting to see where those artists get their inspiration from.

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