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Entries in Fauvism (10)


Albert Marquet: A Style of Impressions

Albert Marquet - View from a Balcony - 1945 - Oil on canvas - 25 5/8 x 19 3/4 in. - Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York, NYFrench painter Albert Marquet (1875-1947) was very involved with Fauvism during the early years of the twentieth century. Fauvism—the first movement of Modern Art—was a wild, vibrant style of expressionistic art that shocked the critics. It has since been recognized as one of the seminal forces that drove Modern Art. It’s practitioners were called the fauves, French for "wild beasts," as a term of derision, referring to their apparent lack of discipline. Once thought of as a minor, short-lived, movement, Fauvism paved the way to other significant developments in modernism in its disregard for natural forms and its love of unbridled color. 

Marquet participated in a group exhibition with Henri Matisse (1869-1954), André Derain (1880-1954) and Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958) at the "Salon d'Automne" in 1905. In the following year, Marquet traveled extensively through France and also visited Germany, Holland, North Africa, Russia and Scandinavia. Between 1940 and 1945, Marquet lived in Algiers. He only returned to Paris permanently in 1945, two years before his death. 

Albert Marquet developed his own style, which was influenced by his varied impressions during his travels. He moved from typical Fauvism to a simplified, calmer style more akin to Impressionism He remained faithful to that approach for the rest of his life. In addition to landscapes Marquet also produced some excellent figurative paintings, including several powerful female nudes and numerous portraits. The painting featured here was completed shortly after his final return to Paris.


Georges Braque: A Multifaceted Painter

Georges Braque - L’Estaque - 1906 - Oil on canvas - Private collection (click photo for larger image)Although Georges Braque (1882-1963) is best known for his collaboration with Pablo Picasso on the development of Cubism, he had a long career during which he explored objects through color line and texture. 

Braque’s early paintings reveal the influence of the Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro, and later he carefully studied the structures and synthesis of color and tonal values in the art of Paul Cézanne. He later wholly engaged with the intense use of color by the Fauves—prior to moving on to the Cubist experiments for which he is best known.

Braque also was an artist who preferred being alone in his studio—rather than “being a personality in the art world”. For this reason, his achievements were and remain somewhat overshadowed by the developments of his fellow collaborator, the dynamic Picasso. The two actually were good friends. It is impossible to say which of them was the principal inventor of the revolutionary new style, because we know that they exchanged ideas almost daily. However, we do know that it was Braque who initiated the tendency toward using geometric forms, largely based upon his respect for the work of Cézanne.

In the work featured here, we see Braque’s Fauvist interpretation of L’Estaque, an area frequently visited by the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.

You can read more about all of the artists mentioned here elsewhere on this site.


August Macke: Feelings and Moods

August Macke - Lady in a Park - 1914 - Oil on canvas - 38 1/2 x 23 1/4" (97.8 x 58.9 cm) - MoMA, New York (click photo for larger image)German Expressionist painter August Macke (1887-1914) was a member of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) organization of artists, based in Germany, that contributed greatly to the development of abstract art. He lived most of his creative life in Bonn, with the exception of a few periods spent in Switzerland and various trips to Paris, Italy, the Netherlands and Tunisia. His style was formed within the mode of French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, and he later went through a Fauve period, which greatly influenced him throughout his life. In 1909, through fellow artist Franz Marc, he met Wassily Kandinsky—both featured elsewhere on this site. For a time, Macke shared the non-objective aesthetic and the mystical and symbolic interests of Der Blaue Reiter.

Macke's meeting with Robert Delaunay (also discussed on this site) in Paris in 1912 was something of an epiphany for him. Delaunay's chromatic Cubism (labeled Orphism) influenced Macke's art from that point forward. The exotic atmosphere of Tunisia, where Macke traveled in April 1914 was also fundamental to the luminist approach of Macke’s final period, during which he produced a series of works now considered masterpieces. His later works focus primarily on representing emotions and moods, in part through a distortion of color and form. The influence of Fauvism remains evident throughout his oeuvre—as you will observe in the work featured here. 

Sadly, Macke died at the front during WWI—an artist lost far too soon.


Artistic Drama

Matisse – The Green Stripe - 1905; Oil and tempera on canvas, - 40.5 x 32.5 cm (15 7/8 x 12 7/8 in) - Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Copenhagen (click photo for larger image)Amélie Parayre married Henri Matisse (1869-1954) in 1898. It was his aura of desperation and danger that had first attracted Amélie to him. She posed for, or presided over, every one of the great revolutionary canvases he produced in the first years of the 20th century. She left him after 31 years of marriage. More on that a bit later. In his green stripe portrait of his wife, he has used color alone to describe the image. Her oval face is bisected with a slash of green and her coiffure, purpled and top-knotted, juts against a frame of three jostling colors. Her right side repeats the vividness of the intrusive green; on her left, the mauve and orange echo the colors of her dress. This is Matisse's version of the dress, his creative essay in harmony.  Matisse painted this unusual portrait of his wife in 1905. The green stripe down the center of Amélie Matisse's face acts as an artificial shadow line and divides the face in the conventional portraiture style, with a light and a dark side, Matisse divides the face chromatically, with a cool and warm side. The natural light is translated directly into colors and the highly visible brush strokes add to the sense of artistic drama. 

Henri Matisse - Large Reclining Nude, 1935 - oil on canvas - 66 x 92 cm (approx. 26 x 36) The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA (click photo for larger image)“Large Reclining Nude” was a work in progress for over six months, during which time Matisse discussed its composition with a favorite patron, Etta Cone; she acquired the work the following year. The model was Lydia Delectorskaya. Madame Matisse felt threatened by her husband’s close relationship with Lydia. Lydia Delectorskaya (click photo for larger image)A golden-haired beauty from Siberia, Lydia was orphaned at a young age, and managed on her own wits to flee Russia in its post-Revolution years. She ended up in Nice, France, with no money, job or connections. Lydia found employment in the Matisse household as both a studio assistant and domestic worker. She was hired by Amelie. Eventually, Amelie gave Matisse an “it’s her or me” ultimatum—and Matisse chose his wife. But Lydia tried to shoot herself in the chest when she was asked to leave—and the emotional toll on the Matisse marriage was just too deep. Matisse and Amelie divorced—and Lydia remained with Matisse for the rest of his life.


Henri Matisse: A Gentleman’s Passion

Henri Matisse - Le bonheur de vivre (The Joy of Life) 1905-06, Oil on canvas, 175 x 241 cm (69 1/8 x 94 7/8 in); Barnes Foundation, Merion, PA (click photo for larger image)Henri Matisse (1869-1954) was the most important French painter of the 20th century, rivaling Pablo Picasso in his influence. His background was diverse. He studied under Academic painter Bouguereau and Symbolist Gustave Moreau. He experimented with the Pointillism of Neo-Impressionist Georges Seurat, but found it rigidly confining. Later, building on the work of Post-Impressioniss Cézanne and Gauguin, Matisse (with André Derain)  developed Fauvism, a much freer and more expressive style of painting which was the forerunner of Expressionism. Although his is most famous for the establishment of Fauvism, he enjoyed a long career and his work was quite varied. “Matisse, like Raphael, was a born leader and taught and encouraged other painters, while Picasso, like Michelangelo, inhibited them with his power.” The name “Fauves” is translated as “wild beasts”. But there was nothing wild about Matisse. He was a gentleman and an intellectual—but nevertheless very passionate.