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Fauvism

Meet the “wild beasts” of the early-20th-century art world.


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André Derain painted this landscape shortly after he and Henri Matisse visited Collioure, a small port town in Southern France. From the foreground bank, over the riverbed, to the higher ground beyond, many elements are compressed into the scene, including the bridge at the lower right, a cabin down in the ravine, and the beehive form of a covered well. Houses appear beyond the river, behind the central grove of trees, which almost appear to vibrate as a result of Derain’s outlining their trunks and foliage in equally bright hues.

Despite his radical use of color, Derain wanted to create images that would “belong to all time” as well as to his own period. Though the emotionally high-keyed color—typically unmixed paint directly from the tube—may have been influenced by the intensity of the light and color in the south of France, Derain stated, “It’s very difficult to possess a landscape, but it’s easier to create a harmonious shape . . . creating through those affections one has felt in the physical world.”1

Harrison, Charles and Paul Wood, eds. Art in Theory 1900 – 2000 (Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing), 64

The natural landforms of a region; also, an image that has natural scenery as its primary focus.

The area of an image—usually a photograph, drawing, or painting—that appears closest to the viewer.