After talking about the beggings of the modern art era, we can see, that the movements started to shift away from realistic, academic art towards something more abstract. And impressionism, while broke the ice, was still a very realistic movement. Fauvism began around 1900, and it turned away from the realistic colours of impressionism and the academic movement, and it emphasized on strong and vivid colours.
It was a relatively short lived movement, it’s peek was in the first decade of the 20th century, and it only lasted for a few years. The main artists were: Matisse and Derain. The name, les fauves means the “wild beasts”, and the movement got it’s name from a critic, complaining about the harsh and raw nature of the paintings (and maybe an other artist’s painting had some influence in this sarcastic remark).
If you glance upon a few paintings, and one of them belongs to the fauves movement, I’m sure, that you’ll be able to spot it. It has such strong colours, that it’s impossible to miss. Fauvism almost never uses pastel colours, only vivid, hard ones, and this gives the paintings a very psychedelic side. And of course in the dawn of the 20th century this wasn’t an everyday thing, the artists got their share of hard criticism (especially Matisse), which was very demoralising.
A 19th century influence of fauvism is Van Gogh. He certainly was before his age in his paintings, so it’s not surprising that he almost couldn’t sell one of his works: he really struggled with life, but left behind some great masterpieces. Van Gogh also used colours in a very different way than his contemporaries. If you look at a Van Gogh painting you’ll see that behind the visual experience, there’s a sensual effect: you can almost feel, smell the air, the scene of the paintings. He really gave movement and life into his paintings. This post impressionistic style had an influence on les fauves.
Les Fauves was often concidered as a mode of expressionism, so next week we will talk about on of the biggest movements in the early 20th century, which has not only effected visual arts, but every other art.