Three years doesn’t a “movement” make. Or does it? Tell that to the French Fauvists of the early 20th Century. A brief period in art history, Fauvism certainly made its mark and exerted considerable influence in its transient life span.
It began in 1905 and *poof* it was gone by 1908. The chairman of the board was the one and only Henri Matisse. His right hand man was his good friend Andre Derain. Other members of the gang were Raoul Dufy, Kees van Dongen, Maurice de Vlaminck, and Georges Braque, who jumped the Fauvism ship to go off and develop Cubism with Picasso. Deserter!
If you like color – intense, in-your-face color, that is – you’ll like Fauvism. Ridiculed by critics as undisciplined, brash, and primitive, they were given the nickname “fauves” as an insult. It means “wild beasts”. Nice!! I like it Using unblended colors, aggressive brush strokes, and with little regard for shading and depth perception, Matisse and his cohorts allowed color and color alone to propel their work in a style that was without subtlety or nuance. It rattled many. But while snooty art reviewers accused the Fauve style of being flat, simplistic, and lacking complexity, the movement ended up serving an important function in the art history timeline; a transitional bridge between Impressionism/Post-Impression to Cubism and Expressionism.
The Fauvists amplified the colors of life and nature, taking each hue and “kicking it up a notch” to the more saturated version. Realistic? No way. Representational? Not a chance. Bold, vivid and vibrant. You bet.
While many of the notable Fauve works are landscapes and interiors, for Museworthy I’ve chosen, like I always do, some works with human subjects.
Andre Derain’s Dancer at Le Rat Mort:
This is probably the most famous Fauve portrait. Mme. Matisse, Matisse’s painting of his wife, Amelie. Also known as The Green Stripe:
And this is Vlaminck’s version of the Rat Mort girl. That chick really got around! But those ladies usually made for very good – and willing- art models: