Henri Matisse and André Derain studied with the same teachers, shared friendships with other artists, traveled together, and sometimes worked in the same studio. Both admired and collected African sculptures—especially Matisse, who traveled to North Africa in 1906—whose aesthetic influence can be seen in each painter’s stylized treatment of the human figure, pictorial flatness, and fragmented shapes and planes. To make their paintings, they applied thick brushstrokes of vibrant colors, often unmixed from commercially produced tubes of paint. These colors did not correspond to the way things appeared in real life. “My choice of colors does not rest on any scientific theory,” said Matisse. “It is based on observation, on feeling, on the very nature of each experience.”

In 1905 Matisse and Derain exhibited together at the Salon d’Automne (Fall Salon)—an alternative to the state-sponsored juried Salon—and their work caused a scandal. Viewers and critics alike were shocked by their use of bright, non-naturalistic colors in their landscapes and portraits. One art critic went so far as to call the artists “_fauves_” or “wild beasts,” and the label stuck. Since then, the term Fauvism has been applied to work by Matisse, Derain, and a small band of early-20th-century painters who used similarly expressive colors applied in planes and with broad brushstrokes.

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