In 1905 an artistic movement exploded onto the art scene in Paris. It developed from expressionism in the sense that both used color as a way to speak to the soul. The main difference is that the expressionists used color to convey all kinds of emotions while, in Fauvism, it “remains under control and gives itself over to joy.” Fauve means wild beast in French, a name that was meant to be an insult because critics of the day were horrified by the fauvist paintings. Fauvism was an intuitive, bold style with vibrant colors used in unusual ways, a green face for example or blue grass. They were experimenting with how color could be liberated from subject matter. They concentrated on painting in a way that expressed what they felt in a scene rather than what they literally saw. And they wanted to convey joy with those colors and unusual, simplified compositions. The Fauves are also considered heirs to Van Gogh and Gaugain's expressive paintings but they went further into the realm of the effect of color on the viewer's psyche. I also like that they did not create a "school of painting" with definite rules and taboos (you know I don't like rules much!). Matisse is considered the father of Fauvism and also the most talented. I love Matisse but I also love André Derain. The third major painter in the movement is Maurice de Vlaminck. All three were Paris-based. There are some other artists too that could be considered part of the movement, Pinterest is a fun place to explore Fauvism. They inspire me because of their courage and creativity, especially in a period of history where even art was rote and rule-bound. The freedom in
to me and I was using color to express joy before I had ever heard of them so it was thrilling to discover them a couple of years ago. I've collected two of my favorite paintings from each of these three artists for you to be inspired by but I hope you research them more! Below you will see, pink, red and yellow mountains, green skies, blue plants and red trees. Looking at the Fauvists can free us to express what we feel about a subject or place. Take a look at these paintings and think about this: what rules have you been carrying around in your head that you can toss out? This is what I do when I get stuck or need inspiration.
Here is an Andre Derain painting I love, Mountains at Collioure