Andre Derain, Mountains at Colioure, 1905-exemplifeis so called mixed technique. Favism in which short strokes of pure color derived fom the work of van goh and Seurat are combined with curvilinear planes of flat color inspired by by gaugunis paintings and are nouvau decorative arts. The assertive colors, which he likened to sticks of dynamite do not record what he actually saw in the landscape by rather generate their own purely artistic energy as they express the artists intense feeling about what he saw.
Henri Matisse, The woman with the hat, 1905-Like Derain Matisse was interested in deliberate disharmonies. The painting sparked controversy at the 1905 salon d’Automne. Not because of subject was depicted: with crude drawing, sketchy brushwork, and wildly arbitrary colors that create a harsh and dissonant effect.
Henri Matisse, Le Bonheur de Vivre(The Joy of Life), 1905-depicts nudes in attitudes close to traditional studio poses, but the landscape is intensely bright. He defended his aims in 1908 pamphlet called notes of a painter: “What I am after, above all, is expression,” he wrote. In the past, an artist might express feeling thourgh the figure pses or expressions that the characters in the painting had. But now, he wrote, the whole arranfement of my picture is expressive. The place occupies by the figures or objects, the empty spaces around them, the proportions, everything plays a part.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, street, Berlin- Dominating the left half of the painting, two prostitutes, advertised by their large feathered hats and fur trimmed coats, strut past well dressed ourgeois men, their potential clients. The figures appear as artificial and dehumanized figures, with masklike faces and stiff gestures. Their bodies crowd together, but they are psychotically distant from one another, victims of modern urban alienation. The harsh colors, tilted perspective, and angular lines register Kirchners expressionistic response to the subject.
Kollwitz, The outbreak-Expressionist* shows the peasants built up fury from years of mistreatment exploding against their oppressors, a lesson in the power of group action. Kollwitz said that she herself was the model for the leader of the revolt, black anna, who raises her hands to signal the attack. Her arms silhouetted against the sky, and the crowded mass of worker with their farm tools. form a jumbled and chaotic picture of a time of upheaval.
Kandinsky, Improvisation No 28-First abstract work*This work retains vestige of the landscape :Kandinsky found references to nature the hardest transcend. But the work taes us into a vortex of color, line and shape. If we recognize buildings or mountains or faces in the work, then perhaps we are seing in the old way, looking for corresponences between the painting and the world where none are intended. Rather the artist would have us look at the painting as if we were hearing a shmphony, respnding insticntivley and spontaneously to this or that passage, and then to the total experience.
Kandinsky, The Blue Mountain, 1909- shows two horsemen, rendered in the style of Russian folk art, before a looming peak in his favorite color. The flatness of the work and the carefully parallel brushstrokes show influence from Gaugin and Cezanne. Many of his works feature riders; Kandinsky had in mind the horsemen of the Apoclypse who usher in the end of the world before its final transformation at the end of time.
Franz Marc, The large blue horses- The animals merge into a homogenous unit, the fluid contours of which reflect the harmony of their collective existence and echo the lines of the hills behind them, suggestion that they are also in harmony with their surroundings. The pure, strong colors reflect their uncomplicated yet intense experience of the world as March enviously imagined it.
Paul Klee, Hammamet with its mosque-The play between geometric composition and irregular brush strokes is reminiscent of Cezannes work, which.
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Charing Cross Bridge
Andre Derain painted �Charing Cross Bridge� during his brief stay of two months in London, England, in the winter of 1906. The painting depicts a scene from the south shores of the river Thames, as the artist observed it while standing on a wharf near the Lion�s Brewery, which is the blue building on the far left. The rippling water effect was achieved by using short, choppy brush strokes. The distant buildings and landscape were painted employing smooth, soft lines in order to create a contrast with the close, sharp contours in the foreground. The bridge shows the train driving through it. �Charing Cross Bridge� remains one of Derain�s most popular paintings.
The Onset of Fauvism
In 1905, Andre Derain and Henri Matisse, who became very close friends through college, placed their artwork in an exhibition at the Salon d�Automne. Their paintings prompted art critic Louis Vauxcelles, to call both artists �les fauves�, which translates to �the wild beasts�. This initiated a short movement in art history called Fauvism, lasting from 1905 to 1907, with a mere total of three exhibitions. The paintings were imaginative and boldly colored, with generally no standard use of the typical artistic methods implemented by most painters of the time. When Vauxcelles coined the term �les fauves�, he did not intend it to be a compliment to the artists, but rather a humorous reaction to their unorthodox style and methods. Today, Andre Derain�s paintings sell for approximately US $6 million.
The Artist�s Comment
Andre Derain�s remark: �Painting is too beautiful to be reduced to images which may be compared with those of a dog or horse. It is imperative that we escape the circle in which the realists have trapped us.�
�Charing Cross Bridge� is located in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Click to purchase art prints by Andre Derain
USE OF COLOURS
For details about the colour wheel,
colour mixing theory, pigments and
palettes, see: Colour in Painting .
One of the famous painters of the Ecole de Paris . Andre Derain was a leading member of the short-lived colourist movement known as Fauvism. Along with Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958), he was one of the most important Fauvist painters. and a key figure in modern French painting. A member of Picasso's circle in Montmartre, Derain's patrons included the dealer Ambroise Vollard (1866-1939), Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (1884-1979) and Count Etienne de Beaumont, among many others. He was also an illustrator, set designer and sculptor. Although he painted until his 70s, he is best known for his post-Impressionism. notably his brightly coloured fauvist pictures, like his views of London (eg. Charing Cross Bridge, London. c.1905, MOMA; The Pool of London. 1906, Tate Collection; Big Ben, London. 1906, Tate Collection), L'Age d'Or (1906, Museum of Modern Art Tehran) and Portrait of Matisse (1905, Tate Modern, London). His most famous sculpture is the sandstone stauette Crouching Man (1907).
NOTE: For the influence of Andre Derain on 20th century classicism, see: Classical Revival in modern art (c.1900-30).
Early Life and Studies
Derain was born in 1880, just outside of Paris in the Ile-de-France. At the age of 15, he went to Paris to study engineering at the Academie Camillio. However, he spent more time in the museums and art studios of the city than in his own classes, and he soon rejected engineering for a career as an artist, and attended painting classes under Eugene Carriere (1849-1906). Carriere was a French Symbolist artist of the Fin de Siecle period, and close friend of the sculptor Auguste Rodin. Carriere's work was best known for it's brown monochrome palette, which in future years would influence many artists, including Picasso (the monochrome style was reflected in Picasso's Rose and Blue Period). It was during these early years that Derain developed the habit of visiting the Louvre art museum. where he developed a love for the work of the Old Masters, and made copies of their paintings. Throughout his career he never lost his interest in traditional art practices. While studying with Carriere, Derain met Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and in 1900 he shared a studio with Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958). De Vlaminck was primarily a landscapist, and encouraged Derain to paint landscapes.
Colourism: Origins of Fauvism
In 1901, Derain was hugely impressed by the Vincent Van Gogh retrospective at the Bernheim-Jeune Gallery in Paris, after which his interest in colour grew dramatically. Unfortunately however, his artistic studies were put on hold between 1901 and 1904 when he was conscripted into the army. When the War was over, he determined to forge a career in art and attended the Julian Academy. He mixed with other artists including Albert Marquet (1875-1947), Henri Manguin (1874-1949), Georges Rouault (1871-1958) and Charles Camoin (1879-1965) who were themselves inspired by Gustave Moreau (1826-98). Moreau was a controversial teacher at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts who encouraged his students to use the expressive potency of pure colour pigments. and thus played an early influence over the future Fauvists. Other Fauves included the Le Havre painters Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) and Othon Friesz (1879-1949).
Fauvism At the Salon d'Automne 1905
In 1905, Derain accompanied Matisse to the south of France. Here, in the small fishing port of Collioure, both artists produced powerful canvases, applying bright, pure colours straight from the tube, and leaving whole areas of unprimed canvas bare. In these works they sought to express the simplicity and rawness of life in the Mediterranean, which was then a region still relatively untouched by outsiders. Their highly innovative paintings were exhibited at the Salon d'Automne later that year. Also exhibiting were Rouault, Manguin, Camoin and de Vlaminck. It was through this exhibition that the group received their name, when the art critic Louis Vauxcelles sneered that their work was "Donatello au milieu des fauves!" ('Donatello among wild beasts'). He was contrasting the high-renaissance sculptures that shared the room with them. He was also derisory about their brush strokes, and their use of unnatural colour. Indeed, the Fauves were the target of many snide comments and mockery, but began to gain respect when major art buyers started adding fauvist works to their collections. In 1905, the art dealer Ambroise Vollard purchased the entire contents of Derain's studio, and in 1906 Derain produced his most famous Fauvist painting Big Ben, London. In contract to Claude Monet's impressionist version, Derain used bright blues and vivid yellows and greens. Where Monet is subtle, Derain's screams for attention.
Derain's fauvist paintings owe a considerable debt to both Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) and Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), artists whose work Derain had seen in major shows in Paris. At the same time, he was influenced by Neo-Impressionism. a style in which a painting is made up of small dots of colour; these fuse in the eye of the viewer when seen from a distance. Derain became familiar with this style through the work of Paul Signac (1863-1935), a major artist whom Matisse had befriended and visited in the southern French village of Saint-Tropez. For more about the contribution of Andre Derain to expressionism, see: History of Expressionist Painting (c.1880-1930).
By 1907 Derain, like the Cubist painters George Braque (1882-1963) and Pablo Picasso, was also showing considerable interest in primitive art forms, such as African sculpture. which could be seen in the ethnographical museum in Paris. His sandstone sculpture, Crouching Man (1907), for example, rejected traditional modeling in favour of carving and was highly influential in the development of modern sculptural techniques.
In 1907, Derain signed a contract with Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (Picasso's dealer). Through Kahnweiler, Derain sold works in Germany and Russia, and exhibited in the United States, acquiring enough financial security to marry his girlfriend Alice, with whom he settled in Montmartre. During this period he experimented with several mediums, including stone sculpture. He moved to Montmartre and became friendly with other important artists of his time, including Modigliani and Picasso. While in Montmartre, his colour palette shifted to more muted tones reflecting the influence of Cubism, in particular Juan Gris ; and also Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne. He also explored printmaking, and worked with woodcuts, lithographs and etchings in the Primitivism style, illustrating the first book of prose by Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918).
New Artists Association
By 1908, Fauvism, a short lived movement, was over. The post-Impressionist painters at its core were already moving on to other developments. In 1910 Derain exhibited works at the Neue Kunstlervereinigung in Munich (New Artists Association), an association founded by Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), and in 1912 he took part in the Secessionist Der Blaue Reiter group exhibition and, in 1913, at the Armory Show in New York, along with the Russian Alexei von Jawlensky (1864-1941), the Germans Franz Marc (1880-1916), August Macke (1887-1914), Gabriele Munter (1887-1914), Albert Bloch (1881-1961) and the American painter Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956).
Gothic Period and Set Design
Between 1911 and 1914, classic art forms began to appear in Derain's paintings, with undertones of Gothic influences. In 1914, World War I broke out, and he was again enlisted for service. In 1916, while still in service he created some illustrations for Mont de Piete by the surrealist Andre Breton. and was given his first solo exhibition by Paul Guillaume. After being released from military service in 1919, he established himself as a Classicist, designing a number of ballet sets for Sergei Diaghilev and Les Ballets Russes . Later (in 1947) he also designed for the Royal Ballet in London, in particular their ballet Mam'zelle Angot. His reputation continued to soar between the wars. He had one-man exhibitions in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, London, Cincinnati and New York. In 1928 he was awarded the coveted Carnegie Prize for Art, issued by the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. Derain's paintings of later years are less well known; he focused primarily on still lifes and landscapes, drawings and lithographs.
From 1935 Derain lived in the countryside of Chambourcy, working in near isolation, although he also maintained an apartment in Paris. During the War, he was invited to Germany on an official visit, which was exploited by the Nazi propaganda machine. After the Liberation he was branded a traitor and ostracized by many. He died just outside of Paris in 1954. In subsequent years, Derain has been recognised as one of the most influential of French expressionist painters. Today, as one of the great 20th century painters. his paintings fetch millions of dollars at auctions around the world.
Famous works by Derain, which can be seen in the best art museums throughout the world, include:
- The Harbour of Collioure (1905)
- Portrait of Henri Matisse (1905)
- Fishing Boats, Collioure (c.1905)
- Charing Cross Bridge, London (c.1905)
- The Pool of London (1906)
- Big Ben, London (1906)
- Bacchic Dance (1906)
- L'Estaque (1906)
- Bridge over the Riou (1906)
- The Seine at Chatou (1906)
- L'Age d'Or (1906)
- Madame Derain in Green (1907)
- Landscape near Cassis (1907)
- Bathers (1907)
- Madame Derain in a White Shawl (c. 1919-20)
- Torso (c.1921)
- Landscape near Barbizon (c.1922)
- Still Life (c.1938-43)
- The Painter and his Family (c.1939)
For details of major art periods/movements, see: History of Art .
For more information about modern art, see: Homepage.