Modern Art Miniseries: 3/20


"The Fauves were a loosely shaped group of artists sharing a similar approach to nature, but they had no definitive program. Their leader was Matisse, who had arrived at the Fauve style after earlier experimenting with the various Post-Impressionist styles of Van GoghGauguin, and Cézanne, and the Neo-Impressionism of Seurat, Cross, and Signac. These influences inspired him to reject traditional three-dimensional space and seek instead a new picture space defined by the movement of color planes.” — (From the Met Museum’s essay Fauvism, by Sabine Rewald.)

Fauvism was an avant-garde art movement in early twentieth century France that sought to break way from Impressionism as well as preceding academic art styles. Characterized by its bright, vibrant palette and nonrepresentational color schemes, Fauvism captures the excitement of the early 1900’s in a rapidly changing world. Many Fauvist painters went on to experiment with Expressionism, which took on a more emotional tone, and Cubism. The best known Fauvist painter, Henri Matisse, was also a draftsman, sculptor, and writer, in addition to his career as a painter. Born in Nice, France, in 1869, he abandoned his ambition to become a lawyer and attended the famous Ecole des Beaux-Arts, where he met another future Fauvist, Maurice de Vlaminck (x).  The Fauvists were especially influenced by the work of the late Vincent van Gogh. Some other important Fauvist artists include: Andre Derain, Raoul Dufy, Georges Braque (who later went on to become a major player in the Cubist movement), and Louis Valtat. 


Landscape near Chatou, Andre Derain, 1904;

Boats at Martigues, Raoul Dufy, 1908;

Open Window, Collioure, Henri Matisse, 1905;

The Girl from Rat Mort, Maurice de Vlaminck, 1905-1906.