Fauvism techniques characteristics Historic context artists works


Pictorial movement that emerged in France in 1905. In this article we will provide you the techniques of Fauvism. 

Fauvism was an avant – garde pictorial movement that emerged in France in 1905, which expanded into the Autumn Salon of 1907 , causing a strong impact on the history of art.

By extension, nowadays this term is also used to designate a certain pictorial style that emphasizes decorativism and the expressive use of color , beyond the period and the artists who participated in said movement.

Fauvism received that name from the reference of the critic Louis Vauxcelles, who, when observing the works exhibited by a group of artists in the Autumn Salon of 1905, compared them to wild beasts (in French Fauves ).

In his quest to achieve the subjective expression of the artist through color, some historians consider Fauvism a French version of Expressionism. However, unlike German Expressionism, the main interest of Fauvist artists was pictorial experimentation, rather than social criticism.

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Fauvism techniques

  1. They also exhibited at the “Salón de Independientes” in 1906.
  2. The Fauvists expressed themselves in strident and aggressive color schemes; violent and arbitrary colors occupying the primary colors (blue, red and yellow); the Fauvists wanted to express their human and not artistic truth, and they worked according to their instincts, without method.
  3. His subjects were “innocuous” (harmless), peaceful, portraits, interiors, pleasant visions of man in nature, beautiful landscapes …
  4. They were not looking for naturalistic representation, but to enhance the value of color itself.
  5. The most prominent Fauve was Matisse, who is characterized by his almost childlike simplicity.
  6. He despised perspective and modeling in favor of spot colors, and his decorativeness is barbaric in value.

Characteristics of Fauvism

The main characteristics of Fauvism are the following:

  • It was constituted as a meeting of three artists with similar interests (Henri Matisse, André Derain and Maurice Vlaminck) and ended when these artists began personal searches towards other senses.
  • Unlike other avant-gardes, he did not establish a manifesto that expressed the group’s ideals, but rather that they were a group of artists united by friendship and a certain conception of what art should be.
  • Its main promoter and guide was the artist Henri Matisse, who argued that a formal synthesis should be sought to capture ideas . It proposed flat colors and minimal use of plastic resources .
  • He conceived of painting as a way of expressing one’s own emotions, through color .
  • He tried to create a free and expressive painting , leaving behind the academic and classical tradition.

Antecedents of Fauvism

The artistic movements considered as antecedents of Fauvism are the following:

  • Impressionism : Fauvist artists took the short and loose brushstroke from Impressionism . This way of applying paint on canvas, making the brush mark visible and evident, is radically different from what happened with the classical and academic tradition, which tried to make any mark of the artist’s gesture invisible.
  • Post-Impressionist artists: from Paul Gauguin they took the use of pure color, without mixing and subjective, as it is perceived by the sensitivity of the artist at all times. From Vincent Van Gogh , the conception of painting as an expression of the artist’s subjectivity.
  • Pointillism and divisionism : from these neo-impressionist movements, the Fauves took the construction of the pictorial image from points of pure colors.

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Historic context

Fauvism developed in a society characterized by the dynamism promoted from the Second Industrial Revolution . The revolution in transport resulted in great mobility of people.

At the same time, scientific and technological advances promoted the belief in the possibility of achieving happiness and well-being in society through these means.

In this context, a strong industrial bourgeoisie was consolidated and the middle class expanded with access to consumption associated with free time, such as vacations, restaurants, shows, books and magazines.

However, at the same time a certain social tension and conflict grew . The contradictions between the general optimism of society and the real situation of the poorest sectors were beginning to become evident. Likewise, the clash between the dominant bourgeois morality and the desires and customs of the people.

In the cultural aspect, this period coincided with the development of modernism in architecture, ornamentation, interior design, decorative arts and graphics.

Fauvism artists and works

The representatives that formed the core of Fauvism have been:

  • Henri Matisse (1869-1954) : leader and main reference of Fauvism, who was a painter, sculptor and engraver, among other activities. He is one of the most important figures in 20th century art .
  • Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958) : French painter.
  • André Derain (1880-1954) : French painter, illustrator, sculptor and set designer.

Other artists who participated in the movement were:

  • Georges Henri Rouault (1871–1958) : painter and printmaker, whose works show a strong social commitment.
  • Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) : French painter, graphic artist and textile designer.

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