The Fauve Movement

Style from 1900-beyond 1910, but movement 1904-1908


Les Fauves is French for "the wild beasts". It was created by a group of modern arts whose pieces emphasized lots of color and painterly qualities. It was started by Henri Matisse and Andre Derain in Paris, France. Their eye-popping color choices were never seen before and were a shock to the people. The artist didn't mean to shock the people, they just simply wanted to experiment with color in a whole new way. Some painters choose which colors to use while others consciously choose not to think at all. But the results were usually always blocks and dashes of unnatural colors. These pieces were said to have been done by madmen, wild beasts, or fauves.

Contribution of Artists

Gustave Moreau was the movement's inspirational teacher. He was a professor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts School in Paris as a symbolist painter. He taught Matisse, Marquet, Manguin, Rouault, and Camoin during the 1890's. Critics viewed him as the group's philosophical leader until in 1904 when Matisse was recognized as such. In 1896 Matisse visited an artist named john Peter Russell on an island of Brittany. Russell was an Impressionist painter and Matisse had never seen an Impressionist work directly. He was so shocked by the style that he left after ten days saying he couldn't stand it anymore. The next year he returned as Russell's student and left his earth-toned palette behind as he turned to the wild colors. Russell was a friend of Vincent Van Gogh and he gave Matisse one of Van Gogh's paintings. Matisse's painting cohered many of the Fauvism characteristics.

Woman With the Hat- By Henri Matisse

I love all the various colors he used. And although it's not realistic, it feels right, like that's what colors she's supposed to be. I also like that even though it's blocks and dashes of color, you can still tell what the picture is of.