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Cover of the catalog of the Salon d'Automne, Grand Palais , Paris, 1905

Fauvism is assigned to a style of painting in art history . It emerged from a movement within the French avant-garde at the beginning of the 20th century. Fauvism was the first movement in classical modernism .

The main representatives of the movement, which was initially reviled, were Henri Matisse , André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck . They were joined by Raoul Dufy , Albert Marquet , Kees van Dongen , Othon Friesz and Georges Braque . Some art historians also include Henri Manguin , Charles Camoin , Jean Puy and Louis Valtat as part of the Fauves, and, according to more recent trends, Georges Rouault as well .

In the Fauvist pictures the coloring should no longer serve the illusionistic representation of an object. The painterly statement arose from the harmony of the colored surfaces. The bright colors are typical of most of the works. However, the considerations for the representation of the room are also an essential part of the picture composition.

The roots of Fauvism come from Impressionism , but the aim was to work against the fleetingness of Impressionist images in order to give the work more duration (French: durée ). Fauvism did not have its own theory or manifesto . According to a more recent view, Fauvism has similarities with Expressionism .

In 1907 Cubism replaced Fauvism and attracted some of its exponents. It is a legacy of the Fauves that modern artists see color as an individual means of expression.


Grand Palais , location of the exhibition, Photochrom , around 1900
Room VII of the Salon d'Automne, Grand Palais, Paris, 1905. Jacqueline Marval sits to the left of the bust, to the right Jules Flandrin . Louis Valtat and Albert Marque can also be seen.

The term "fauvism" is derived from the French word fauves "wild beasts". When a small group of painters showed their pictures in Room VII of the Salon d'Automne in 1905 , the art critic Louis Vauxcelles saw a female bust in Florentine style standing between the paintings, created by the French sculptor Albert Marque . He shouted: "Tiens, Donatello au milieu des fauves." ("Look, Donatello surrounded by wild beasts.") In addition to Henri Matisse and André Derain , Albert Marquet , Henri Manguin , Othon Friesz , Jean Puy , Louis Valtat , Maurice de Vlaminck , Charles Camoin and Kees van Dongen their works.

The phrase became famous for its inclusion in an article in Gil Blas of October 17, 1905, in which Vauxcelles wrote of Matisse's painting La femme au chapeau (Woman in a Hat) that she suffered “the fate of a Christian maiden who went to the circus the wild beasts (Fauves) is accused ”. In the same article he repeated the statement made in the so-called Cage aux fauves - the cage of wild beasts (Room VII): "Donatello chez les fauves."

The article linked painters who had never thought of appearing as a closed group. Her pictures were hanging in Room VII of the Salon d'Automne because those responsible, Armand Dayot and Léonce Benedite, had decided that. The first exhibition of the painters, now known as Fauves, took place from October 21 to November 20, 1905 in a small gallery at 25 Rue Victor-Massé, which was run by Berthe Weill . The exhibiting painters were Camoin, Derain, Dufy, Friesz, Manguin, Marquet, Matisse and Vlaminck.

The group itself rejected the naming. The expression was considered so implausible by painters that they did not use it before 1907. They didn't feel the need to give themselves a name.

The name Fauvism - as before for Impressionism and later Cubism - was accidental, came from outside, was the expression of a shock effect on contemporaries. The word coined by Vauxcelles weighed on the fate of this new painting and distorted its understanding. The word Fauve unconsciously contained the ideology that was still alive at the time , which condemned the excessive wealth of colors and gave priority to drawing for the composition of the picture. The color was still considered an “animal part of art” in Ingres' sense .

Fauvism is one of those style names that does not adequately describe either a mental situation or a style of painting. In Vlaminck or van Dongen, features of the "wild animal" can be found, insofar as this is related to the object or the technology, but hardly in Derain and Matisse.


Three main groups, to which the Dutch loner Kees van Dongen comes, contribute to the formation of the term Fauvism:

  • the students of Gustave Moreau and the Académie Carrière: Henri Matisse, Albert Marquet, Charles Camoin, Henri Manguin and Jean Puy.
  • the group from Chatou: André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck.
  • the converted trio from Le Havre of Impressionist origin: Othon Friesz, Raoul Dufy and Georges Braque.

The painters wanted to break with the past, especially impressionism and realism , and not become dependent on a model. They worked against the fleeting impression of impressionistic images in order to give the work more duration (French: durée ).

The basic goals were developed in the subject of landscape painting . In the sculptures, light and room design are of equal value due to the color. The spatial appearances are treated as a pure surface without modeling and the illusion of light and dark . The illusion of space is replaced by a poetic space created through sensitivity and imagination. This space expresses itself artistically through an interplay of pure, evenly saturated colors. The Fauves rejected literary references in painting.

The expression (Fr .: expression ) of the plant lies in the surface of the colored image that captures the viewer as a whole. The highest increase in color is not enough to characterize Fauvism. "That is only the outside", says Matisse, "Fauvism arose because we rejected the imitative colors and achieved far stronger effects with the pure ones [...], apart from the luminosity of the colors." This is typical for Fauvism also that the painters strived for the correspondence between the expression and the inner content of the picture through the orderly composition . The simplicity of the painterly means used was given clear attention.

Historical inclusion


The painters, who were between twenty and thirty years old in 1905, were born shortly after the defeat of France in 1870 and the events of the Paris Commune and came from mostly modest family backgrounds. France was shaken and divided by the Dreyfus Affair in 1894 and there was much protest. For some critics, trust in government, the judiciary, the army, the church and the economic system was shaken. This is how anti-clerical, anti-militarist, anti-conformist, even anarchist tendencies emerged.

The World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 attracted a record 50 million visitors.

However, anarchism between 1900 and 1905 was no longer an active, violent movement in France, it was more a coffeehouse anarchism . The Fauves had in a certain sense drawn closer to the anarchists - so the fight against recognized bourgeois art also led to a fight against the established order. But as early as 1905 Derain said in a letter to Vlaminck: “I ran into an anarchist again. Everywhere I go I have a bunch of anarchists around me who destroy the world every evening and put it back together in the morning. It gets on my nerves, especially the idea of ​​having believed that I was one myself. "

The 1900 World's Fair in Paris highlighted the gulf that lay between European industrial society and the newly discovered cultures of the Far East, Africa and Oceania. In this way, works of art from far-flung cultures reached the capital of France, which attracted the attention of the Fauves.

Philosophy and literature

The spirit of the Fauves can be compared to the thoughts of André Gide . Gide praises the cult of life, that state of passionate enthusiasm in which the individual unfolds, which he expressed in Les nourritures terrestres in 1897 . The literary attitude of Gide, who wants to renew the art of writing out of displeasure with symbolism , corresponded to the reaction of the Fauves. So they turned against the unproductivity of official art and the excesses of the anecdotally lost symbolism in painting.

In January and February 1900, articles by Jules de Gaultier appeared in the magazine Mercure de France, highlighting the anti-rationalist and individualistic basis of Nietzsche's philosophy and the abundant lyrical enthusiasm in Also Sprach Zarathustra . Another aspect of Nietzsche's thought was the defense of the Dionysian against Christianity . This attitude made Nietzsche the Prophet des Méditerranéisme , a Mediterranean philosopher preferred by the Fauves. The glorification of life, Nietzsche's joyful individualism at that time was felt as a reaction against pessimism and the excesses of the fin de siècle . What Jules de Gaultier says about Also Spoke Zarathustra could be part of a manifesto of Fauvism: “This is a pleasure, a new appetite, a new gift to see colors, to hear sounds and to feel feelings that have not been seen before, were heard or felt. "


Many influences and countercurrents penetrated the young painters of the early 20th century in Paris. The popular art of that time was a mixture of academic “poetic realism ” à la Bouguereau and fin-de-siècle phenomena such as Art Nouveau . The official academy style presented the final stages of neoclassicism and realism. The contrast to this popular painting was formed by an important part of French painting culture, the avant-garde , which has already become a tradition . Its two main currents were Impressionism and Neo-Impressionism (see → Divisionism ), as well as Symbolism , Cloisonism , Synthetism , the Nabis artist group and the works of van Gogh , Gauguins and Cézanne . Their common concern was to consolidate the flowing visual impression caused by Impressionism. The unity of the non- illusionistic picture surface dominated the will of the avant-garde.

The work of the leading minds formed the point of reference and confrontation for the young painters. In their works they recognized, for example with van Gogh and Gauguin, that the flat treatment of color came to the fore, which was opposed to the blurring of impressionistic works. For the Divisionists , it was Chevreul's color logic and color theory , which was based on the additive color mixture taking place in the eye of the beholder , with the help of which one wanted to avoid the blurring. Signac , the theorist and continuer of the movement, published all chapters of his sensational doctrinal work in the Revue Blanche from May to July 1898 : From Eugène Delacroix to Neo-Impressionism . The dominant influence, however, was that of Cézannes, less in terms of pure color and more as an example of the structure of the image and the energy of its execution.


Moreau, the teacher

The teacher, whom some Fauves would later speak of with admiration and gratitude, was Gustave Moreau . Moreau taught at the École des Beaux-Arts from 1891 to 1898 . He spent mornings talking to his students, taking them to the Louvre over and over again . André Suarès wrote: “He had the merit of understanding what was opposed to him and which should have repelled him most violently. He was the safest guide, the wisest mentor. " Roger Marx formulated in the Revue encyclopédique of April 25, 1896:" Everyone who wants to develop their individuality has rallied around Moreau. "Moreau's saying became famous:" I am them. " Bridge some of you will cross. "

In the explanations recorded by Tériade speaks in 1951, Matisse speaks of his teacher Moreau: “My teacher, Gustave Moreau, used to say that the mannerisms of a style turn against him after a certain time, and then the qualities of the picture must be strong enough be so as not to fail. That's why I'm vigilant about all seemingly extraordinary techniques. "

Matisse 1898-1905

Henri Matisse, 1898

Matisse's career was decisive for the development of Fauvism. He began to visit Pissarro from around 1897, but certainly after Moreau's death in 1898 . Pissarro was the moral conscience and the artistic leader of his time, who had received the direct teaching of Corot , experienced the development of Cézanne and Gauguin and supported Seurat's attempts . He was also open to Matisse's beginnings and gave him unforgettable advice. Matisse began creating paintings in which the beginning of the eruption of color was expressed and increased until 1901.

In 1935, in his essay On Modernism and Tradition , Matisse said : “When I started painting, we were not at odds with our predecessors, and we expressed our views cautiously and gradually. The Impressionists were the recognized leaders, and the Post-Impressionists followed in their footsteps. I didn't do that. "

Photography by Camille Pissarro , 1900

The stay in Corsica in 1898 indicates the first Fauvist steps. Between 1900 and 1903 Matisse examined the structure of the forms. By this he understood on the one hand the drawing that expresses the essence of the object - what he calls le dessin compris - and on the other hand the drawing that expresses the stability of the object - what he calls dessin d'aplomb . After a further examination of Neo-Impressionism , Matisse managed to release color from the guardianship of the contour and to construct the depicted space from relationships of contrasting color plans - more easily readable from colored surfaces .

Vue de Saint-Tropez
Henri Matisse , 1904
Oil on canvas
35 × 48 cm
Léon-Alègre Museum, Bagnols-sur-Cèze

Link to the picture
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With the picture Vue de Saint-Tropez (view of Saint-Tropez) , exhibited in 1904 in the Salon d'Automne , he introduced Fauvism. It corresponds to the two or three works that Derain painted in late 1904 and early 1905. The early maturity of Derain, the youngest of the Fauves, was so striking that Picasso had, without hesitation, awarded him the paternity of Fauvism.

In his Divisionist composition Luxe, calme et volupté (1904–1905), Matisse discovered the contradiction between the “linear, sculptural plasticity” of drawing and the “plasticity of colors”. The painterly statement finds expression less in pure colors than in a non- illusionistic , three-dimensional definition of space.

The works shown by Matisse in the autumn salon of 1904 stimulated Friesz , who had previously painted an impressionist , to join the movement.

When Matisse exhibited in the Salon des Indépendants Luxe, calme et volupté in 1905 , Dufy changed his direction. The two painters from Le Havre , Friesz and Dufy, renounced their early impressionism and followed Matisse. Dufy commented on this: "Before this work I understood the justification for life of the new painting, and Impressionist realism lost its charm for me in the face of this miracle of treating drawing and color purely imaginatively."

Chatou School since 1901

André Derain , photograph around 1903

It has Chatou the Argenteuil - the former playground of the Impressionists called Fauvism -. It was in this small suburb that the union of the three pioneers of the movement, Matisse, Derain and Vlaminck, the latter based in Chatou, took place.

In 1901, during a visit to the memorial exhibition for van Gogh in the Alexandre Bernheim (later Bernheim-Jeune) gallery , Derain introduced Matisse to his friend Vlaminck , whom he had previously met while copying classical works in the Louvre . This often-mentioned historical encounter does not mark the birth of Fauvism, but it did form one of its most important germ cells. Occasionally one speaks of a Chatou school. Matisse recalled: "To be honest, Derain and Vlaminck's painting did not surprise me, because it was similar to my own attempts."

In the attitude of Matisse and Vlaminck, the two poles of Fauvism faced each other, from which it drew its strength and cohesion on the one hand, but on the other retained its heterogeneous structure. Matisse argued that it was important to counter instinct. Vlaminck, on the other hand, tried to paint with all of his senses without thinking about style. Matisse took on the classical legacy and had never turned down the influence of others. The artist's personality was only confirmed for him by struggling with opposing ideas and winning honestly over them. For Vlaminck, on the other hand, painting was not an aesthetic experience, but a fermentation of the juices, a “suppuration, an abscess”. He rejected all influences of the forerunners. The picture Restaurant de La Machine à Bougival by Vlaminck shows his preferences for the basic tones yellow, red and blue.

With Derain, the fundamental trinity of Fauvism was formed as the link between two such opposing natures. In the autumn of 1904 Derain, who had had to do military service since 1901, returned from the life of a soldier. This made the exchange between Matisse and the restored Chatou troop, who used the color like “dynamite cartridges”, extremely lively.

Derain's works during this creative period (1904) were partly still under the influence of van Gogh and the neo-impressionists. However, Bords de rivière, Chatou (river bank, Chatou) already shows the search for a synthesis of form, with the help of which reality is not to be depicted, but rather an imagery equivalent to it is to be created. In La Seine au Pecq (1904) there was now a hint of a painting style that was clearly oriented towards Fauvist aspirations.

Birth of Fauvism in Collioure in 1905

View of Collioure

Matisse and Derain spent the summer of 1905 together in Collioure . If Céret was, after the word Salmons , the “ Mecca of Cubism ”, then Fauvism was born in Collioure, and it was there that the transition from post-impressionism to the new kind that was to cause a scandal in the next autumn salon took place.

The first work in Collioure was still devoted to Divisionist considerations. In the nearby Corneilla-de-Conflent there was an encounter with Gauguin's work. The two painters saw the still unknown works from Oceania in Daniel de Monfried, Gauguin's most loyal friend. They recognized in them a confirmation of their path to "subjective color" (→ detachment of the coloring from the "objective" representation of the local color ). Flat color is the basic idea in Gauguin's work. It overcomes "the dispersion of local color in the light" by placing the "correspondence of strongly colored surfaces" above the light. On this point, Matisse emphasized that Gauguin cannot be counted among the Fauves, since in his work the structure of space through color is missing. Gauguin's role as a forerunner is recognizable on the one hand, and the purification that his successors achieved on the other.

The Divisionist view was now completely called into question because it was in complete contradiction to the relationship between artist and nature developed by Matisse and Derain. Matisse had later judged Divisionism strictly and, like Pissarro, saw the limits and the sterility of a "too formulaic doctrine for the structure of colors". From his point of view, the Divisionist style of painting is based on simple "impressions of the retina" and only aims at the "purely physical order" of the colors. Paul Signac took Matisse's rejection of Neo-Impressionism very personally. In a letter dated July 28, 1905, Derain also reported to Vlaminck about a new conception of light: that he “must exterminate everything that the subdivision of color tones entails” and added, “It harms the things that intentionally harmony Draw disharmonies. It's basically a world that destroys itself as soon as you push it to the edge of the absolute. "

Bateaux de pêche à Collioure
André Derain , 1905
Oil on canvas
38.2 x 46.3 cm
The Museum of Modern Art, The Philip L. Goodwin Collection, New York

Link to the picture
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From now on, the last works of Collioure show the way to the exaggeration that will determine the essence of Fauvism. As a transition, a new mixture of divisionism and flat color emerged. The brush script is thin and fluid, almost watercolor-like in its lightness, for example in La sieste by Matisse and Bateaux de pêche à Collioure by Derain. In her pictures the illusion of space, mass and matter has now been completely canceled. Another example is Matisse's painting Open Window in Collioure .

In the works from Collioure every trace of the old painterly color perspective disappears , which used warm tones for the foreground and cool tones for the bluish distance, and which the Impressionists also tried to overcome. Placed next to each other without contours in radiant colors, the colors form the surface like a carpet and create that pure harmony that Matisse called a "spiritual space". This reduces the importance of light as an element of reality that models the object. The light space is replaced by a color space created by the artist's feeling and in place of the descriptive rendering of the forms, Fauve put what Maurice Denis called the “noumen of images” and what today could be called symbols.

Returning to Paris, Matisse went to the figure and in a few days painted La femme au chapeau (woman with hat) . There is no longer any hierarchy between figure and space, everything is significant and of equal value, is inserted into the overall rhythm through a sequence of colored areas, based on the example of Cézanne's watercolors.

Today the Chemin du Fauvisme in Collioure commemorates the origin of Fauvism there: reproductions of the paintings by Matisse and Derain made there are attached in 19 places.

Climax and end

Group of the Fauves

Les affiches à Trouville
Raoul Dufy , 1906
Oil on canvas
65 × 81 cm
Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris

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The group of Fauves developed out of friendly relationships. During the Fauvist years they were traveling in pairs and exchanged ideas with one another: Vlaminck and Derain in Chatou, Matisse and Marquet in Paris, Marquet and Dufy in Sainte-Adresse, Trouville and Le Havre, Friesz and Braque in Antwerp, Dufy and Friesz in Falaize and Le Havre, Matisse and Derain in Collioure, Dufy and Braque in L'Estaque.

What they had in common was a passionate commitment to color and the use of certain means to bring it out. Each of them said “color” and each meant something different. On the other hand, they all have in common that they seek help in Cézanne's work in their deep crises. Fauvism does not have the same uniform method as Programmatic Impressionism or Neo-Impressionism.

A comparison of Dufy's pictures with those of Matisse and Derain shows the contrasts. At Dufy , form and line are increasingly independent of each other. His works are not only in contrast to the mass effect that Derain strives for to visually anchor his color fields, but also to Matisse, who uses the line to stretch the form to the utmost. For example, Dufy's painting Les affiches à Trouville (Posters in Trouville) from 1906 is even closer to Marquets' work. When Cubism emerged, Dufy dealt with its aspirations for a time.

The "Fauvist on velvet paws" Marquet later stated that his presence in the famous "Cage" (Room VII) from 1905 was more a coincidence than a picturesque reason. The five landscapes he exhibited there were painted under the gray sky of Paris. More than Van Gogh and the Impressionists, it was Manet who had a decisive influence on him. Marquet's views of Paris - such as Le Pont Saint-Michel - add a very special touch to Fauvism.

Above all, Friesz was interested in a coloristic orchestration (“multicolor”) - recognizable in La régate à Anvers (regatta in Antwerp). In 1908 he returned to a painting dominated by drawing. Friesz later turned temporarily to the aspirations of cubism.

Van Dongen was represented with two works - Torso and The Shirt - in Room VII of the Autumn Salon of 1905. Although he joined the Fauvists, his torso was much less Fauvistic than, for example, the La femme au chapeau by Matisse on display in the same room . Her works shown in the autumn salon immediately illustrate the lifelong contradictions of the two painters.

The artists Louis Valtat, Henri Manguin, Jean Puy and Charles Camoin were mentioned more often in the few years of the Fauvist movement than in the following decades. They stand on the edge of Fauvism as painters who appear more related to themselves than to the other Fauves. In this context, Rouault's role is that of a complete outsider, who is nevertheless occasionally counted among the Fauves in recent literature.

Peak in 1906

The year 1906 crowned the triumph and spread of Fauvism through the annexation of Braques and its effect abroad. The Autumn Salon of 1906 brought together the full group of the Fauves in their prime, in which their essential tenets were revealed.

Derain's pictures from London are some of the most successful works of Fauvism. His stay in the British capital was inspired by Vollard , who, under the influence of the work of the Autumn Salon of 1905 , wanted to see Monet's famous series renewed in a different spirit. Works were created in two clearly distinguishable directions: in broad brushstrokes and in the juxtaposition of colored masses. The bridge of Charing Cross is an example of the first direction. The Westminster Bridge , which Derain had chosen from all London paintings for the Autumn Salon 1906, sums up the result of this period. A novel and masterful synthesis of Lautrec and Gauguin takes place in this picture .

Le bonheur de vivre
Henri Matisse , 1905/06
Oil on canvas
174 × 238 cm
Barnes Foundation , Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Alongside Matisse, Derain is the leading artist of the Fauves. His pictures turn out to be a series of masterpieces that are equivalent to the classical works of Impressionism.

The painting Le bonheur de vivre (also called La joie de vivre - The joy of life ) by Matisse forms, before Picasso's painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon , the first truly monumental work of painting of the 20th century. It was acquired by Gertrude and Leo Stein at the Salon des Indépendants in spring 1906 . Matisse overcame the occidental alternative, which separates line and color, by assigning the former an intellectual role, the color an exciting role and seeing art as the mimicry of either the external or the internal world.

Late 1907

From 1907, the unity of the movement dissolved under the advance of Cubism introduced by Picasso and Braque , in the development of which Matisse and Derain were not uninvolved. The fact that the two opposing movements are in solidarity is shown in Braque, who painted one after the other and without reservation, Fauvist and Cubist.

On the occasion of Braque's third stay in L'Estaque in the summer of 1908, which Dufy shared for some time, Braque renounced the Fauvist palette. He built his landscapes - for example houses in L'Estaque - and still lifes in a subdued scale of gray, ocher and green from facet-like surfaces that prompted Louis Vauxcelles to speak of “cubes”.

After the collapse of the movement, as Derain also turned to Cubism from 1907, Matisse gained great international importance. His influence was particularly effective in Germany and the Nordic countries. In 1909, for example, a translation of his work Notes of a painter appeared in the German magazine Kunst und Künstler , which was published in the Grand Revue in December 1908 . This essay is of subsequent programmatic importance for the movement of the Fauves.

In 1929 Matisse expressed himself in his thoughts and sayings about Fauvism: “Fauvism shook the tyranny of Divisionism . You cannot live in an overly tidy household, a household of aunts from the provinces. So you set off into the wilderness to find simpler means that do not stifle the mind. ”In a similar way Derain said a few years later:“ The great merit of this method was that it provided the picture of all imitative and conventional contacts freed. What was wrong with our attitude was […] approaching things from too far away and making hasty judgments. So it became necessary to return to more cautious attitudes. "


First reactions

Vauxcelle's designation Fauves was received with disapproval by the public. Vauxcelles himself was not opposed to the movement, however. Camille Mauclair , the critic of Figaro , on the other hand - using a quote from John Ruskin - expressed himself clearly dismissively in 1905: “A paint bucket has been poured over the head of the audience!” In the Journal de Rouen , one could find a certain in an article Nicolle read: “What we are shown there - with the exception of the materials used - has nothing to do with painting: blue, red, yellow, green, lots of glaring blobs of paint that were put together completely randomly - primitive and naive gimmicks of a child who has fun with the paint box it was given. "

To describe the reception as “mixed” with the audience in general is too benevolent, however. Many visitors got excited. There were even attempts to destroy Matisse's painting La femme au chapeau .

Michel Puy, the brother of Jean Puy , accused the contemporary writers of not having taken note of the Fauves' statement. An exception was André Gide , who had seen that "madness of colors" a "result of certain theories".

Maurice Denis was rather positive, if astonished , in L'Ermitage magazine on November 15th. He wrongly suspected a preconceived theoretical stance in Matisse, but acknowledged its essential advantages: "That is painting outside of any randomness, the pure process of painting [...] That is truly the search for the absolute."

Élie Faure , the great French art historian, wrote in the foreword to the exhibition catalog of the Salon d'Automne in 1905: "We have to show impartiality and the willingness to understand a completely new language."

Art historical classification

Eugène Delacroix , Woman with a Parrot , 1827

For centuries, color was only a complement to the drawing . Raffael , Mantegna and Dürer , like almost all painters of the Renaissance , built up the picture primarily through drawing and then added the local color . From Delacroix to the Impressionists to van Gogh and Cézanne, who gave the decisive impetus and introduced the colored masses, one can see how more and more attention was paid to color.

A first expressionist wave, mixed with symbolic and Art Nouveau elements, appeared between 1885 and 1900 as a reaction against impressionism and the objective will to order of Cézanne and Seurat. Their representatives were van Gogh, Gauguin, Lautrec , Ensor , Munch and Hodler . The artist's inner fear was freed not only through an increase in color, but also through expressive forms and the emphasis on tense lines. A second expressionist wave, far more powerful than the first, was already evident in France through the contributions of Rouault , in Picasso's early work , in the work of Fauvism in general and in Germany with the foundation of the Dresden Bridge .

Fauvism had only a short lifespan, however the contribution of Fauvism to European painting does not depend on its short duration. For the first time in the history of Western painting, Fauvism placed color, above all unbroken color, at the center of its design. This revealed the possibilities, but also the limits of color itself. The strongest colored effect is created not with the brightest colors, but with the richest vision of color. In this way, the Fauvist works make clear that colourfulness has nothing to do with inspired colourfulness.

The Fauvists did not expect from art the change of society, which they accepted with its injustices and also its beautiful sides. Nor did they believe that painting could be destroyed as the Dadaists demanded. On the contrary, they found that painting needed further development.

Position on German Expressionism

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner , Marzella , 1909

A more recent tendency of art criticism within a general definition of the position of European painting between 1900 and 1910 is to associate Fauvism and the movement of the Dresden Bridge with Expressionism . There are also opinions that deny any difference between Fauvism and Brücke, on the grounds that such a distinction is based on nationalist, racist considerations and competitive thinking.

In the early days of the bridge, however, differences to Fauvism became apparent, for example in the respective conception of life and art. The painters influenced by Nordic art drew their inspiration from the old Nordic themes of compulsive obsessions, unconscious drives, dreams and nightmares. They also had Kierkegaard as a source and his conception of fear, in which he not only saw a basic character of man, but also shaped all of nature for him. In the field of painting, they were influenced by the work of Munch , which is in complete contrast to the painting style of Cézanne .

For the Fauves, the colors act on the retina; as the sons of Newton and Chevreul , they were interested in the solar spectrum. For the Expressionists, on the other hand, colors are symbolic and mythical and have an effect on the soul. They are to be assessed against the background of Goethe's conceptions of color theory and metaphysics . In times of social crises and intellectual perplexity, German Expressionism received special attention. In Expressionism, the color scheme appears unbridled and unrestrained, while Fauvism, on the other hand, was dominated by color.

Aftermath and Influences

Alexej von Jawlensky: Chocolate with a red hat , 1909

In France, Fauvism was replaced by Cubism around 1907 . In Germany it was the expressionist painters, especially the members of the Blue Rider , who were inspired by the Fauves. Kandinsky and Jawlensky were richly represented in the historic autumn salon of 1905, but not in the “Cage of the Wild”, but in the Russian section organized by Diaghilew . The Fauvist phase of Kandinsky and Jawlensky was influenced by Matisse. In Kandinsky's work, for example, periods can be observed in which phases of development of Fauvism are repeated with some delay. After Matisse visited Munich in 1908, Kandinsky founded the “ Neue Künstlervereinigung München ” (NKVM) in 1909. The visit was repeated in 1910.

Matisse had exhibited at Cassirer's in Berlin in the winter of 1908/09 and was in Germany three times between 1908 and 1910. Supported by the example of Matisse and Fauvism, the style of the Dresden Bridge was consolidated .

Matisse's work represented the counterbalance to the unfolding Cubism, of which he formed the opposite pole. In 1908 Matisse founded a private school, the Académie Matisse . There he taught from January 1908 to 1911 and eventually had 100 students from home and abroad.

In 1909 van Dongen became a member of the Dresden artist group Brücke . Max Pechstein met van Dongen around the turn of the year 1907/1908 in Paris and encouraged him to present his Fauvist works in an exhibition of the Brücke painters in Dresden in 1908.

The art of the Fauves also had an impact on the painters of the Russian avant-garde such as Kazimir Malevich and Natalia Goncharova . They also influenced some Dutch artists, possibly also the Italian futurist Umberto Boccioni . For painters such as Pierre Bonnard , Fernand Léger , Robert Delaunay , František Kupka and Roger de La Fresnaye , color became the most important artistic means of expression.

Fauvism is also occasionally seen as a pioneer of abstract painting . However, the Fauves did not take the final step of completely renouncing the reference to the object - since in this way, as Matisse and Derain emphasized, the abstraction is only imitated.

Wall design at the regional vocational school in Innsbruck by Emmerich Kerle (sculpture) and Fritz Berger (painting), 1956

Under the influence of the French Cultural Institute in Innsbruck , which promoted cultural exchange with exhibitions by French artists and grants for stays in France, Fauvism came to Tyrol after 1945, where it had a great aftereffect in painting. Artists like Fritz Berger , Gerhild Diesner , Walter Honeder , Emmerich Kerle or Hilde Nöbl borrowed from the Fauvists in their work.


  • Jean-Paul Crespelle: Fauves and Expressionists. (Title of the original edition: Les Fauves ). Bruckmann, Munich 1963.
  • Bernard Denvir: Fauvism and Expressionism. (Title of the original edition: Fauvism and Expressionism , translated from the French by Karlheinz Mahr), Knaur-Taschenbücher Volume 447, Munich / Zurich 1976, ISBN 3-426-00447-X .
  • Jean-Louis Ferrier: Fauvism - The savages in Paris. (Translated from the French by Diethard H. Klein), Editions Pierre Terrail, Paris 1992, ISBN 2-87939-053-2 .
  • Marcel Giry: Fauvism - Origins and Development. (Title of the original edition: Les Fauves, Orgines et Evolution , translated from the French by Gunhilt Perrin), Office du Livre, Friborg, and Edition Georg Popp, Würzburg 1981, ISBN 3-88155-088-7 .
  • Claudine Grammont, Heinz Widauer: Matisse and the Fauves . Wienand, Cologne 2013, ISBN 978-3-86832-155-5 .
  • Gotthard Jedlicka : Fauvism. Gutenberg Book Guild, Zurich 1961.
  • Jean Leymarie : Fauvism. (Translated from the French by Karl Georg Hemmerich), Editions d'Art, Albert Skira Verlag, Genève 1959.
  • Henri Matisse, Jack D. Flam (Ed.): About Art. (Title of the original edition: Matisse on Art , translated from English by Elisabeth Hammer-Kraft), Diogenes Verlag, Zurich 1982, ISBN 3-257-21457-X .
  • Martin Schieder: "Aucun report avec la peinture". The Fauves in the Salon d'Automne of 1905 and the art criticism. In: Prenez garde à la peinture! Art criticism in France 1900–1945 , ed. by Uwe Fleckner and Thomas W. Gaehtgens (Passagen / Passages, Vol. 1), Berlin 1999, pp. 405-423.
  • Kristian Sotriffer: Expressionism and Fauvism. Verlag Anton Schroll & Co., Vienna 1971.
  • Denys Sutton: André Derain. (Translated from English by Renate Gerhardt), Phaidon Verlag, Cologne 1960.

Web links

Commons : Fauvisme  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Au center un torse d'enfant d'Albert Marque. La candeur de ce buste surprend au milieu de l'orgie des tons purs: Donatello chez les fauves.
  2. Je suis le pont sur lequel certains d'entre vous passeront.


  1. ^ Henri Matisse: Luxe, calme et volupté , 1904/05, oil on canvas, 86 cm × 116 cm, Musée d'Orsay, Paris
  2. Maurice de Vlaminck: Restaurant de La Machine à Bougival , 1905, oil on canvas, 60 cm × 81 cm, Musée d'Orsay, Paris
  3. ^ André Derain: Bords de rivière, Chatou , 1904, oil on canvas, 74 cm × 123.8 cm, Museum of Modern Art, Mr. and Mrs. William S. Paley Collection, New York
  4. Henri Matisse: La sieste , 1905, oil on canvas, 59 cm x 72 cm, private collection, Zurich
  5. Albert Marquet: Le Pont Saint-Michel , 1908, oil on canvas, 65 cm × 81 cm, Musée de Peinture et de Sculpture, Grenoble
  6. Othon Friesz: La régate à Anvers , 1906, oil on canvas
  7. Kees van Dongen: Torso , 1905, oil on canvas, 92 cm × 81 cm, private collection.
  8. ^ André Derain: Charing Cross Bridge ( Memento of January 22, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), 1906, oil on canvas, 80.3 cm × 108.3 cm, National Gallery of Art, Mrs. John H. Whitney Collection, Washington

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e Marcel Giry: The Fauvism. 1981, pp. 6-9.
  2. ^ Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, p. 38.
  3. a b Sabine Rewald: Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern and Contemporary Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accessed March 9, 2011 .
  4. ^ A b Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, p. 111.
  5. Attribution of the persons: see picture source
  6. a b c d e Gotthard Jedlicka: The Fauvism. 1961, pp. 14-16.
  7. a b c d Jean-Louis Ferrier: Fauvism - The savages in Paris. 1992, pp. 13-15.
  8. a b c d e Marcel Giry: The Fauvism. 1981, pp. 8-10.
  9. ^ A b Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, pp. 14-16.
  10. a b Denys Sutton: André Derain. 1960, pp. 22-23.
  11. ^ A b Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, p. 114.
  12. a b c Marcel Giry: The Fauvism. 1981, pp. 11-13.
  13. Jules de Gaultier, De Kant á Nietzsche , Mercure de France, January 1900, p. 104.
  14. Jack D. Flam, introductory text; from Henri Matisse - About Art , 1982, pp. 38–40.
  15. ^ A b Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, pp. 57-59.
  16. a b c Gotthard Jedlicka: The Fauvism. 1961, pp. 10-12.
  17. ^ A b Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, pp. 27-29.
  18. ^ Henri Matisse, Jack D. Flam (ed.): About art. Diogenes Verlag, Zurich 1982, p. 233.
  19. a b Gotthard Jedlicka: The Fauvism. 1961, pp. 16-18.
  20. ^ Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, pp. 29-31.
  21. ^ Henri Matisse, Jack D. Flam (ed.): About art. Diogenes Verlag, Zurich 1982, p. 135.
  22. a b c Marcel Giry: The Fauvism. 1981, pp. 58-60, p. 60, p. 91.
  23. a b c d e Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, pp. 64-66, pp. 72-74., Pp. 81-83.
  24. a b c d Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, pp. 41-43, pp. 48-50.
  25. Jacques Guenne: Interview with Matisse. 1925; from Henri Matisse - About Art , Jack D. Flam (Ed.): 1982, p. 105.
  26. ^ Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, p. 23.
  27. Marcel Giry: The Fauvism. 1981, p. 76.
  28. Marcel Giry: The Fauvism. 1981, p. 42.
  29. Denys Sutton: André Derain. 1960, p. 18.
  30. a b c d Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, pp. 118-120.
  31. Marcel Giry: The Fauvism. 1981, p. 105.
  32. ^ Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, p. 83.
  33. ^ Collioure website
  34. a b Gotthard Jedlicka: The Fauvism. 1961, p. 5, p. 7.
  35. a b c d Jean-Louis Ferrier: Fauvism - The savages in Paris. 1992, p. 116, pp. 145-147, p. 162, p. 190.
  36. Gotthard Jedlicka: The Fauvism. 1961, p. 161.
  37. ^ Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, p. 108.
  38. ^ A b c Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, pp. 97-99, pp. 101-103.
  39. Gotthard Jedlicka: The Fauvism. 1961, p. 80.
  40. ^ A b Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, pp. 87-89.
  41. ^ Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, pp. 25-27.
  42. a b Gotthard Jedlicka: The Fauvism. 1961, p. 26, p. 29.
  43. ^ A b Jean-Louis Ferrier: Fauvism - The savages in Paris. 1992, pp. 14-16.
  44. ^ Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, pp. 121-123.
  45. Gotthard Jedlicka: The Fauvism. 1961, pp. 169-171.
  46. ^ Jean-Louis Ferrier: Fauvism - The savages in Paris. 1992, p. 203.
  47. ^ A b c Jean-Louis Ferrier: Fauvism - The savages in Paris. 1992, pp. 9-11.
  48. ^ Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, p. 143.
  49. a b Marcel Giry: The Fauvism. 1981, pp. 254-255.
  50. ^ Jean Leymarie: Fauvism. 1959, pp. 140-142.
  51. Gotthard Jedlicka: The Fauvism. 1961, p. 31.
  52. ^ André Verdet, Entretiens avec Henri Matisse. In: Prestige de Matisse. Paris 1952, pp. 37-76.
  53. ^ Tiroler Fachberufsschule in Innsbruck - Skilled trades interpreted artistically (around 1956) , Kulturraum Tirol. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  54. ^ Verena Konrad: Between the center and the periphery. The development of art in North Tyrol since 1945. In: Office of the Tyrolean provincial government and the South Tyrolean provincial government (ed.): Culture reports 2006: Fine arts. Innsbruck / Bozen 2006, pp. 11–17 ( PDF; 179 kB )
  55. Elisabeth Bettina Spörr: Art in Tyrol between 1945–1960. In: Christoph Bertsch (Ed.): Art in Tyrol, 20th century: significantly expanded and revised inventory catalog of the collection of the Institute for Art History at the University of Innsbruck, including documentation of legacies and bequests in two volumes. Volume 1, Innsbruck 1997, pp. 29–36 ( urn: nbn: at: at-ubi: 2-7284 )