Museum Paintings Fauvism in 20Th-Century Paintings the Essay

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Museum Paintings

Fauvism in 20th-century Paintings

The medium I have selected for the time line I will be working on for the museum website is 20th-century Western painting, sharing the common theme of Fauvism.

th-century Western painting began with the weighty influence of painters like Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec and the like - all of whom played critical roles in shaping the modern art. At the start of the 20th-century Henri Matisse, along with a number of other young artists including Andre Derain, Raoul Dufy, and Maurice de Vlaminck collectively influenced the existing Paris art scene by introducing "bold," vividly vibrant paintings of landscapes and figure. The style adopted by these young artists that have been referred to as Fauvism by critics. Fauvism is predominantly talked about as the style characteristic of the works of a seemingly loose group of Modern artists in early 1900s whose paintings emphasized upon aesthetic qualities and vivid colors as opposed to the realistic values retained by Impressionism. Fauvism as a style made appearance sometime in early 1900 and continued well beyond 1910.

Paintings following the style of Fauvism are characterized by bold brush strokes and vibrant colors. The subject matter in such paintings is usually simplified to a great degree and painted in a seemingly abstract manner. Inspired by this bold style of art, I will be spending the next few pages sharing 10 paintings characterized by the vibrant and distinctive style of Fauvism, created by a number of influential 20th-century artists.

Self-portrait in the Studio

Self-portrait in the Studio was painted by Andre Derain in 1903 when he was in his early twenties.

This portrait was painted from Andre's own image in a mirror directly and rapidly onto canvas. The painting's soft palette is strategically accentuated by areas of bright color that grasp the composition to the surface. There are strong similarities with respect to style in this painting with Henri Matisse's paintings in 1905 (such as Carmelina). While it is known that Derain and Matisse were well acquainted with each other at that time, it can however not be said for sure whether or not they saw each other or each other's work in 1903.

Promenade among the Olive Trees

Promenade among the Olive Trees was painted by Henri Matisse in 1905. This particular painting is often referred to as being one of the most important paintings of Matisse' career. Marisse was heavily influenced by a number of older contemporaries who also happened to live in Southern France at that time and he adopted the bold and vivid colors characteristic of Fauvist paintings. Matisse found immense amount of inspiration in the landscapes of Colluoure. It is said that he wrote to a friend telling him that it was full of "charming sites." This painting was bought by Leo Stein and Gertrude shortly after it was finished.

The Open Window

The Open Window also known as Open Window, Collioure, was painted by Henri Matisse in 1905.

The painting is a fine example of the Fauvist style of painting which has become almost synonymous with Matisse's name due to the vast amount of work created by him in this category between 1900 -- 1909.

In Open Window, Collioure, Matisse painted the view out of his apartment window in Collioure which is situated on the Southern coast of France. In the painting, sailboats can be seen on the water, from Matisse's hotel window out onto the harbor of Collioure.

Femme au chapeau fleuri

Femme au chapeau fleuri shows all the pictorial hallmarks of Van Dongen's most directly expressive Fauve manner. The model may have been his wife Guus or perhaps Fernande Olivier, Picasso's companion -- during 1906-1907 both Picasso and Van Dongen had studios in the Bateau-Lavoir at 13, rue Ravignan, Montmartre. Van Dongen has cropped this composition so closely so that his subject is no more than an alluring, heavily made-up vampish face, crowned with a fashionably big hat and its huge pink lunar flower. The young woman's huge eyes are the riveting focal point of the composition, even if she gazes slightly askance of the viewer. Van Dongen's handling of paint is unstinting in its application, varied in touch -- his method was completely free and spontaneous. Here he has employed both brush and palette knife.

Green Stripe

Green Stripe was painted by Henri Matisee in 1905. It is a rather unusual painting of his wife, Amelie Matisse. The green stripe that can be seen traveling down the center of her face divides the face in the conventional style followed in portraits by acting as an artificial shadow line. This helped Matisse skillfully create a vivid contrast between the two sides of the face- a dark, cool side and a light, warm side. The left side of the fave reverberates the green tone present in the right side of the painting, similarly, on the right side of the painting, the pink echos the orange hue on the left.

Le bonheur de vivre

Le bonheur de vivre was painted by Henri Matisse between 1905 and 1906. There are strong similarities between the group of figures located in the maing background with the group that Matisse painted in another painting of his, that is, The Dance (second version).

According to Hilton Kramer: Le bonheur de vivre owing to its long sequestration in the collection of the Barnes Foundation, which never permitted its reproduction in color, is the least familiar of modern masterpieces. Yet this painting was Matisse's own response to the hostility his work had met with in the Salon d'Automne of 1905, a response that entrenched his art even more deeply I

n the esthetic principles that had governed his Fauvist paintings which had caused a furor and which did so on a far grander scale, too.(p. 162)

The Young Sailor II

The Young Sailor II was painted by Henri Matisse in 1906. The painting is essentially a simpler and more distorted version of the original painting. Unlike The Young Sailor, the second painting makes use of more vivid colors which are thoroughly distorted and blended. The drawing of the figure is comparatively more concise and build up of much fewer lines. The youth in the painting has a visibly soft body- his head hangs at a small angle, while his legs are position lively, perhaps indicating a relaxed nature. Results from recently established research tell that the model for Young Sailor II was an eighteen-year-old fisherman named Germain Augustin.

Charing Cross Bridge

Charing Cross Bridge was painted by Andre Derain in the winter of 1906 during his short stay in London, England. The painting is said to depict a scene from the southern shores of the river Thames. Derain observed the scene while he stood on a pier near the Lion's Brewery. The rippling effect that can be observed in the water was the result of using sharp and short brush strokes. Contrastingly, the landscape and buildings in the distance were created by painting smooth, soft lines. A train can be seen driving through the bridge.

Nu bleu, Souvenir de Biskra

Nu bleu, Souvenir de Biskra was painted in early 1907 by Henri Matisse. Today, the orginal is situated at the Baltimore Museum of Art. It constitutes as a part of the Cone Collection.

According many, this nude was painted when a sculpture that Matisse had been working on hattered. Though he did later complete the sculpture after starting from scracth. The sculpture is titled Reclining Nude I. With this painting Matisse shocked the French public when he exhibited Souvenir de Biskra. The painting was amongst several other that would later create an international sensation at the Armory Show in New York City.

Zorah on the Terrace

Zorah on the Terrace was painted by Henri Matisse in 1912. Matisse got his model to sit outside on the rooftop right under dazzling sunlight in order to achieve an intense, natural light source. The model has minimum amount of accessories accompanying her. Perhaps to imply greater focus on the model herself or maybe indicate a simple and plain nature. Pale, blue shadows have been utilized to dull down the bright intensity of the blazing sunlight. A balance has also been created between the pinkish-white patch of sunlight and the golden toned fish bowl. Similar cross-referencing of colors can also be seen in Matisse's other works, such as Green Stripe.


Derain, A. (Painter). (1903). Self-portrait in the Studio [Painting], Retrieved September 10, 2011, from:

Derain, A. (Painter). (1906). Charing Cross Bridge [Painting], Retrieved Sep 10, 2011, from:

Dongen, K.V. (Painter). (1905). Femme au chapeau fleuri [Painting], Retrieved Sep 10, 2011, from:

Kramer, H. (2006). The Triumph of Modernism: The Art World, 1985-2005. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Matisse, H. (Painter). (1905). Promenade among the Olive Trees [Painting], Retrieved Sep 10, 2011,


Matisse, H. (Painter). (1905-6). Le bonheur de vivre [Painting], Retrieved Sep 10, 2011, from:

Matisse, H. (Painter). (1906). The Young Sailor…[continue]

Cite This Essay:

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