Les Fauves (French for wild beasts), a short-lived
and loose grouping of early Modern artists that emphasized
painterly qualities, and the use of deep color, over the representational
values retained by Impressionism even with its focus on light and
the moment. They were known as Les Fauves because of their use
of strident colour and apparently wild brushwork. Fauvists simplified
lines, whist making the subject of the painting easy to read, and
brightened the colors. Les Fauves paintings also feature flat patterns
The name was given the group by an art critic following their 1905
seminal show in Paris. The painter Gustave Moreau was the movement's
inspirational teacher, and a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts
in Paris who pushed his students to think outside of the lines of formality
and to follow their visions.
The leaders of the movement, Moreau's top students,
were Henri Matisse and André Derain — friendly rivals
of a sort, each with his own followers. The paintings, for example
Matisse's 1908 The Dessert or Derain's The Two Barges, use powerful
reds or other forceful colors to draw the eye. Matisse became the
yang to Picasso's yin in the 20th century while time has trapped
Derain at the century's beginning, a "wild beast" forever.
Their disciples included Albert Marquet, Henri Manguin, Charles
Camoin, the Belgian painter Henri Evenepoel, Jean Puy, Maurice de
Vlaminck, Raoul Dufy, Emile-Othonriesz, Georges Rouault, the Dutch
painter Kees van Dongen, and Picasso's partner in Cubism, Georges
Fauvism, as a movement, had no concrete theories,
and was short lived (they only had three exhibitions). Matisse was
seen as a leader of the movement. He said he wanted to create art
to delight; art as a decoration was his purpose; therefore his use
of bright colors tries to maintain serenity of composition.
Among those influenced by the movement were Gauguin
and Vincent van Gogh, both of whom had begun using colors in a brighter
more arbitrary manner.