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French Influence on the Art World: Fauvism


  1.      A style of painting with vivid expressionistic and  nonnaturalistic use of color that flourished in Paris from 1905  and, although short-lived, had an important influence on  subsequent artists, especially the German expressionists.  Matisse was regarded as the movement's leading figure.



A beginner's guide to Fauvism


Key Dates: 1905-1908

The first of the major avant-garde movements in European 20th century art, Fauvism was characterised by paintings that used intensely vivid, non-naturalistic and exuberant colours.

The style was essentially expressionist, and generally featured landscapes in which forms were distorted. The Fauves first exhibited together in 1905 in Paris. They found their name when a critic pointed to a renaissance-like sculpture in the middle of the same gallery as the exhibition and exclaimed derisively ‘Donatello au milieu des fauves!’ (‘Donatello among the wild beasts!’). The name caught on, and was gleefully accepted by the artists themselves.

The movement was subjected to more mockery and abuse as it developed, but began to gain respect when major art buyers, such as Gertrude Stein, took an interest. The leading artists involved were Matisse, Rouault, Derain, Vlaminck, Braque and Dufy. Although short-lived (1905-8), Fauvism was extremely influential in the evolution of 20th century art.

Representative Artists:
Andre Derain
Henri Matisse
Raoul Dufy
Maurice de Vlaminck


Famous Fauvist Painters

The most important Fauvist Painters were Henri Matisse and Andre Derain(1880-1954), who had both studied together in 1897, together with Derain's close friend Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958). Other members of the group - nicknamed fauvettes by Vauxcelles - included the Dutch-born figurative painter Kees van Dongen (1877-1968), the lyrical artist Georges Rouault (1871-1958), the painter of 'waterways' Albert Marquet (1875-1947), the delicate colourist Raoul Dufy (1877-1953), the Cubist-in-waiting Georges Braque (1882-1963), the Le Havre artist Othon Friesz (1879-1949), the Neo-Impressionist Louis Valtat (1869-1952), the versatile Henri-Charles Manguin (1874-1949), the Impressionistic Charles Camoin (1879-1964) another friend of Matisse from Moreau's class at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, and Jean Puy (1876-1960) a participant at the original 1905 Salon d'Automne show.