Fauvism (French Fauvisme, from French fauve - wild) is a modernist trend in French painting of the post-impressionist period of the late 19th - early 20th centuries. Some art historians refer Fauvism to the art of the avant-garde. The period from 1904 to 1908 is considered to be the classical period of Fauvism. The most important stage falls on the years 1905-1907. A characteristic technique of Fauvism is the generalization of form and space, volume and pattern, the reduction of form to simple outlines, the disappearance of chiaroscuro and linear perspective.
One of the features of Fauvism, in addition to the lack of a program manifesto, was the friendly nature of the association. The basis of the artistic movement was made up of masters who studied together or took part in common plein-airs. Despite the creative unity, Fauvism, in many ways, was a partnership, where the participants were connected not so much by the points of the program as by friendly relations. This circumstance can be considered important for the formation of a stable intellectual or artistic movement as such. Matisse, Rouault, Marquet and Manguin were actually classmates - students of Gustave Moreau's workshop. Vlaminck and Derain traveled together to sketches in Chatou, Matisse and Marque maintained friendly relations in Paris, Friesz and Braque communicated in Antwerp, Mark and Dufy met and worked together in Le Havre, etc.
Despite the general interest in intense color, which can be considered the hallmark of Fauvism, it is impossible to speak of a universal method underlying this movement. The Fauvists did not have a unified technique that would be characteristic of all representatives of this trend. And the works of such masters as Matisse, Derain and Vlaminck often turn out to be opposite in their artistic decisions. In particular, the attitude to color in the works of each master was specific.
The heyday of the movement: 1906
Fauvism reached its highest point in 1906, being a fait accompli and recognized as an influential artistic movement. Unlike the exhibition of 1905, where the Fauvists were given a marginal and provocative role, the Autumn Salon of 1906 was a moment of unconditional recognition of the movement. The Autumn Salon of 1906 was dedicated to the Fauvists and focused on their strategy. The exposition of the Fauvists themselves was supported by a representative retrospective of Cezanne, which, in particular, emphasized the persuasiveness of the Fauvist method.
One of the most successful and positively received works of 1906 was Andre Derain's London series. The idea of the series, proposed by Ambroise Vollard, was a conditional repetition of the London views created by the Impressionist artist Claude Monet. Monet's series was written in 1899-1904, and Vollard suggested that Derain repeat it in a new manner, presented at the autumn salon of 1905. By 1906, Derain's work was completed and is now considered one of the examples of classical Fauvism.
Another important work of 1906 can be called The Joy of Life by Henri Matisse, where drawing, color and the decorative nature of the image were actually combined. An important result of 1906 was the recognition of color as a central element of European painting, which until then was perceived as an auxiliary and additional tool. The London series of Derain, the works of Matisse and the Autumn Salon of 1906 at the same time became a kind of outcome of this period.
1907 and the end of the movement
In 1907, a new and final stage begins in the history of Fauvism. This year, Picasso is painting The Maidens of Avignon, a work that gives rise to Cubism. For fauvism, this situation turns out to be unusual: the fauvists lose their reputation as a newly-minted radical movement (which, however, they never aspired to) and turn out to be masters who rather rely on the classical pictorial tradition than focus on new art. Nevertheless, Fauvism and Cubism remain closely related in nature, where similar aspirations are expressed by different means.
Some artists (such as Georges Braque, for example) work in both Fauvist and Cubist styles. In 1907, Derain turns to cubism, which, in fact, leads to the collapse of Fauvism. In 1908, two more important events take place: Matisse publishes the program text "Artist's Notes" and opens his "Academy", where he teaches young artists, based on the principles of classical painting.
In fact, after 1908 the movement falls apart. However, the creative method of Fauvism shaped the artistic landscape throughout the first half of the 20th century. Many artistic trends that developed within the framework of classical modernism are genetically related to Fauvism and bear its imprint.
1. The use of intense, bright colors, and "wild" and non-standard;
2. When working with a cold and dark palette - the introduction of hot accents, and, again, original color solutions;
3. Striving for purity and separation of color zones; play on expressive contrasts (refusal of smooth color transitions, clash of opposites - for example, volcanic scarlet and bottomless blue);
4. The dominance of the creator's inner vision over reality (it doesn't matter what color the sky really is - it matters how the artist sees it);
5. Rejection of chiaroscuro and linear perspective, which led to the disappearance of volumes;
6.Planar nature of the pattern;
7. Generalization of forms;
8. Dynamism, sharpness of lines and composition;
9. Spontaneity of creativity, expressiveness, high emotional richness.
All this fills the Fauvist canvases with stormy expression and wild energy.
Fauvism brings together representatives of three main groups who used similar artistic techniques and who can be considered as participants in a single movement.
Gustave Moreau's students: Henri Matisse, Albert Marquet, Charles Camoin, Jean Puy and Henri Manguin.
Representatives of the Chatou Group: André Derain and Maurice Vlaminck.
Le Havre group: Othon Friesz, Raoul Dufy and Georges Braque (the latter is also considered one of the most important representatives of cubism).
The vast majority of Fauvist artists denied their belonging to the current. Nevertheless, Henri Matisse, André Derain and Maurice Vlaminck can be called the ideological leaders of the direction associated more with the artistic method than with formal belonging; they are commonly referred to as the central representatives of the movement.