Revival of Fauvism

In the Post Impressionist period of the early 20th century, a group of artists experimented with bold, expressive color and defined brushstrokes.   They were influenced by Vincent VanGogh and Paul Gaugin who had begun using more intense colors.  Where the Impressionists had concentrated on capturing the effects of light, these artists moved toward using color for its own sake.  The group because known as Les Fauves, French for “wild beasts” after a derisive remark from art critic Louis Vauxcelles. Leaders of the movement, Ande Derain and Herni Matisse, used brilliant reds and yellows to draw the eye and juxtaposition of complements (opposites on the color wheel) to create visual excitement. Other Fauves included Albert Marquet, Maurice de Vlaminck, and Raoul Dufy. Although Fauvism was short-lived, it was an important step toward cubism and expressionism.

A Mighty Rock, 11x14", Acrylic

I believe that Les Fauves only scratched the surface of the possibilities of combining expressive color with shapes inspired by the natural and built world.  Today’s understanding of color theory and technical advances in art materials allow creative freedom beyond the reach of the early Fauves.

In future editions of the newsletter, we will explore works of both historical and contemporary Fauvist painters.  If you have questions about Fauvism or know of contemporary Fauves, please post comments.

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  1. P. Adams August 13, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    Hello! I found your website today and just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your articles here on the Fauve style of painting. I am totally enamored with this style of painting and search for everything I can get my hands on about it. I am not a very experienced painter yet and can’t take any workshops at this time, so I am trying to just teach myself by reading what other artists like yourself have to say.
    I also wanted to mention the name of an artist who I consider to be a contemporary Fauvist and that is Brian Simons. I have learned a lot from him! His website is at – keep up the great work!

    • lucindahowe August 15, 2011 at 10:35 am #

      Thanks for your comments. Isn’t it great to have the Internet as a resource for learning painting techniques? Good luck with developing your painting skills.

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