An early 20thC, French art movement characterised by bold, surprising and sometimes shocking colours. For the first time, the Fauves (from French, meaning ‘wild beasts’) chose to focus their painting on the expressive potential of colours–defying the accepted representational depictions of the natural world, and instead employing bright colours in their simplest and most sensual forms.

This breakthrough occurred between 1900-1910, amongst a handful of contemporary modern, forward looking artists, spearheaded by Henri Matisse and André Derain, and including Raoul Dufy and Georges Braque. Fauvism followed hard on the heels of Van Gogh, Seurat and Paul Cézanne, reacting against the muted aesthetics of Impressionism and taking much colour inspiration from the ideas and the brilliantly coloured Tahitian works of Paul Gaugin.

Fauvism arguably released artists to paint and exaggerate as they saw fit.

“When I put a green, it is not grass. When I put a blue, it is not the sky.”

Henri Matisse.





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