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Art Movement in Focus: Fauvism – An Introduction

Welcome to Art Movement in Focus! In this section, we explore significant art movements in history through a series of articles dedicated to each movement. Here’s looking at Neo-Expressionism.

Fauvism – An Introduction

The wonderful vibrancy of the artwork arrests the viewer. The artwork is reminiscent of something that has retained a sense of innocence and wonder and allows the expansion of the mind, to experience joy. We are talking about the art movement that formed the bedrock of many many modern art movements, Fauvism.

During the early 19th century Impressionism was running its course through the artwork and was closely followed by Post Impressionism, there was another major art movement that was developing parallelly.

In 1900, Henri Matisse, a French artist had begun to go beyond the realms of what Post Impressionism had to offer and was breaking ground in a new style. It was through his association with André Derain, with whom he had attended school and along with Maurice de Vlaminck that they started to create a very different language, He was in the process of redefining the visual vocabulary as it were.

Paint was a mode to express and colour was not bound to an emotion. The brush strokes became shorter and moved away from the traditional painterly applications; loosening study of light and form.

The bold expressive works when they were first formally exhibited in Paris in 1905, at the annual Salon d’Automne begot an immediate reaction from the art critic Louis Vauxcelles. Owing to the rawness of the works he called them ‘fauves’ (wild beasts). Unerringly, Louis Vauxcelles had heralded the new movement.

Separating color from its descriptive, representational purpose and allowing it to exist on the canvas independently, was one of Fauvism’s major contributions to modern art. That ‘Color’ worked independently to signify a mood, and establish itself within the work of art, was liberating.

Simply put, individual expression was valued by the Fauvists, and the artist’s direct experience of his environment, overrode an academic theory.

OUR TOP 6 Fauvist Artists :

  1. Henri Matisse
  2. Andre Derain
  3. Henri Manguin
  4. Geroges Braque
  5. Raoul Dufy
  6. Albert Marquet


It is a fact that all art movement inform each other, however the definitive works of this movement characterised by the happy ‘young’ short brush strokes are as follows. They display a definitive departure from previous movements that explored reality, its perception and its subsequent expression on canvas through art. There is a deliberate flattening of the canvas, calling attention back to the two-dimensional form.

Henri Matisse
Red Onions

Red Onions 1906, Henri Matisse

André Derain
Bords de Riviere
1904 -1905

Bords de Riviere 1904-1905, André Derain

Henri Manguin
Etude Inversee Nu Sous Les Arbres Villa Demiere

Etude Inversee Nu Sous Les Arbres Villa Demier 1905, Henri Manguin

Georges Braque
The Great Trees, L’ Estaque

The Great Trees, L’ Estaque 1906-1907, Georges Braque

Raoul Dufy
The Wheat Feild

The Wheatfield 1929, Raoul Dufy

Albert Marquet
The Louvre Embankment

The Louvre Embankment 1905, Albert Marquet

For more such quick introductions and lists regarding Art History, visit Art Movement in Focus.

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