the Fauves, it really was all about the color! The word Fauvism comes
from the French word 'fauve' which means 'wild animals’ and indeed this
new modern art style was thought a bit wild with its strong vivid
colors. The name, Les Fauves was actually first used as a derogatory
remark about their work by French art critic Louis Vauxcelles. It
referred to Matisse and the others’ choice of colors, indicating that
their work was savage and primitive. Fauvism was a brief art movement
made up of several young Parisian painters at the beginning of the 20th
Primarily a transitional movement, Fauvism came about as the art world shifted from the Post-Impressionism of Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, and Paul Gauguin to the Cubism of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. Fauvism can be classified as an extreme development of Van Gogh's Post-Impressionism fused with the pointillism of Seurat and other Neo-Impressionist painters, in particular Paul Signac.
The Fauvists' painters never formed a movement in the strict sense of the word, but for years they would nurse a shared ambition, before each went his separate and more personal way.
At the end of the nineteenth century, neo Impressionist painters were already using pure colors, but they applied those colors to their canvases in small strokes. The fauves rejected the impressionist palette of soft, shimmering tones in favor of radical new style, full of violent color and bold distortions. The Fauve painters were in favor of applying bold untouched colors to their canvases in broad rough strokes that on many occasions would distort their subject. The principles of Fauvism permitted the artists the freedom to think outside of the traditional academic structure, and by allowing the artists the luxury of free thinking they were able to create paintings of interpretations instead of an imitation of the actual subject matter.
Henri Matisse was the founding father of Fauvism. Matisse is regarded as one of the great formative figures in 20th-century art, a master of the use of color and form to convey emotional expression.
Other artists of the movement included Andre Derain, Raoul Dufy, Maurice de Vlaminck (his painting "The Circus" is shown above), and Georges Rouault. The fauves did not attempt to express political statements, ethical opinions, or philosophical or psychological ideas in their paintings. Instead they painted subjects that invoked feelings of pleasure, joy and comfort. The fauves favored intense color and vigorous brush strokes and would never consider painting objects in their natural colors.
The most famous painting from the Fauvism movement, is probably Matisse’s Green Stripe (shown here). In this portrait of his wife, Matisse used solid colors throughout, and depended entirely upon the intensity of his colors to create depth and shape. Thick black lines and rough brush strokes completed the image. Although it isn’t necessarily a flattering portrait, Matisse did exactly what he intended to, creating a stylistic and primitive painting that deliberately celebrated the use of color.
Even though Matisse and many of his followers had been toying with Fauvism since early 1896 it did not become an officially accepted art movement until the Autumn Salon Exhibition in 1905 where fauvists gathered to exhibit their newest works.