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At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, there was a break with the preceding artistic tradition, resulting from the search for the renewal of contemporary world art. In the visual arts, this break is marked around figuration. Pictorial movements such as impressionism and expressionism, sought to make the world see reality in a new and creative way. Fauvism is one of the trends that appears in the process of the renewal of the arts, notable for the intensification of color, and the creation of new dimensions, playing with chromatic combinations.

It was at the Salon d'Automne in Paris, in the year 1905, where Louis Vauxcelles (art critic) named this new art trend with one of his comments about the sculpture "Torso of a boy", by Albert Marque, which was placed in the center of the room: "...it's Donatello among the wild beasts" (...Mais c'est Donatello parmi les fauves). The denomination of this avant-garde emerged from that statement which so vividly described what it felt like to see that explosion of color, that artists such as Henri Matisse, Andre Derain, Maurice Vlaminck, and Henri Manguin, demonstrated and extensively developed in painting.

  • "The Joy of Life"

    Painting created in 1906 by Henri Matisse.

    Original title Le bonheur de vivre. It is considered one of the icons of Fauvism, the unrealistic coloration and the Edenic theme, serve the artist to counter the criticisms in which his works were lately being enveloped. He does not renounce his style, he affirms it against all the more conservative trends of the time.

    It currently belongs to the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, United States.

  • "Landscape at Chatou"

    Canvas made in 1904 by André Derain, who is one of the most eccentric painters to join Matisse's cause.

    Also known as "Landscape near Chatou".

    It is not currently on public display, it belongs to a private collection.

  • "The Seine at Chatou"

    Oil on canvas work, by Maurice Vlaminck in 1906.

    It is currently located at the MET Museum, in New York.

Style Characteristics

With Fauvism, what was sought were completely new and original means of expression. Bright and pure colors in places where we did not expect to see them. Matisse trying to explain it says: "When I put green, it is not grass; when I put blue, it is not the sky." The drawing gives the composition, and the color gives the sensation. Therefore, the Fauvists were not looking to reproduce a landscape or portrait literally but the emotion they produce. That is the aim of the avant-gardes and the goal of Fauvism: To express feeling. Expressing the feeling of a person is, however, very complicated since each person perceives emotions differently. That's why each work of art is unique and speaks to each one in its context.

Fauvist Artists

The Fauvists found a way to make color transcend composition in a way never seen before. They found the way to divide the object in a composition and did it through color. The Fauvist drawing is sharp, without details. In Woman with a Hat by Matisse, we can see that the drawing of the woman is nothing special, it is rather quite simple. It is the contrast of colors that forms the composition and what ultimately speaks to the viewer.

  • "The Dance"

    Painting dated in 1910, signed by Henri Matisse.

    Original title: La Danse. It is the artist's most famous painting, already in its time (and even today), it was considered that the figures demonstrated masterful dynamism.

    It is located in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.

  • "The Siesta"

    Painting by Henri Manguin, made in 1905.

    Its original French title is "La Sieste (Le repos, Jeanne, Le Rocking-Chair)".

    It is currently located at the Villa Flora Museum, Switzerland.

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