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Home >> Popular Painting Styles >> Fauvism


Fauvism was a movement, which believed absolutely in color as an emotional force. The Fauvists translated their feelings into color with a rough, almost clumsy style. Fauvists paintings were chaharcterised by simplified lines, an attempt was made to make the subject of the painting easy to read.The perspectives were almost always exaggerated. Fauvist Painters emphasized freshness and spontaneity over finish.

The thought behind fauvism can be best expressed through an excerpt of the conversation between Paul Gauguin and Paul Sérusier.

"How do you see these trees? They are yellow. So, put in yellow; this shadow, rather blue, paint it with pure ultramarine; these red leaves? Put in vermilion."

The word “Fauves” means wild beast and the group of painters were humorously named so by a French critic because of their wild ways.

The the pioneering proponent of the movement was the painter Gustave Moreau, he was a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris who pushed his students to think outside of the lines of formality and to follow their visions.Two of his most famous students were Henri Matisse and André Derain -riendly rivals of a sort, each with his own followers. The paintings, for example Matisse's 1908 The Dessert or Derain's ,The Two Barges , use powerful reds or other forceful colors to draw the eye .

Fauvism was a short-lived movement, lasting only as long as its most important proponent, Henri Matisse (1869-1954), who fought to find the artistic freedom he needed. He said he wanted to create art to delight; art as a decoration was his purpose; therefore his use of bright colors tries to maintain serenity of composition.

Some Famous Fauvist Paintings

Green Stripe (La Raie Verte) by Henri Matisse is also known as Green Line or Madame Matisse, is a portrait of Henri Matisse's wife, Amélie Matisse. He painted it in 1905, just prior to such work being labeled Les Fauves (the wild beasts).

Blue Nude (Souvenir de Biskra) is a 1907 oil painting by Henri Matisse. It is located at the Baltimore Museum of Artas part of the Cone Collection.

Matisse painted the nude when a sculpture he was working on shattered.

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