Lâchez les Fauves!

4 mai 2017

Founded in 1904 and extinct four years later, without ever really elaborating doctrine or school, Fauvism is a movement that brings together artists committed to creating a new pictorial language, mainly based on color.

Cézanne and Gauguin at the origins of the Fauves

"The candor of this bust surprises in the middle of the orgy of pure tones: Donatello among the wild beasts (Fauves)." It is, in these words, that the critic of Art Louis Vauxcelles gives its name to Fauvism. He wrote in the daily newspaper Gil Blas, on the occasion of a visit to the “Salon d'automne” in 1905, in which a classicist sculpture of a certain Albert Marque (1872-1939) stands. The latter is presented in a room gathering many artworks in very bright colors, scratched by Charles Camoin, Hippolyte Flandrin, Georges Rouault and Henri Matisse.

This movement appeared in France at the same time as Expressionism in Germany. Down there, Expressionism is characterized by a troubled atmosphere, at the frontiers of violence, the expressiveness of Fauvism is of quite another character. The group is guided by a contagious positivism and a vibrant vitality. The Fauves are part of the continuity of the research initiated by Paul Cézanne at the time when Impressionism reigned supreme. The Provencal painter was slightly behind the quasi-scientific preoccupations of his time. One could observe in his works a certain simplification of the forms and a work of the color by broad flattening.

This notion is pushed even further by Paul Gauguin. After a trip to Tahiti, he marvels at the brilliance of the colors of this little piece of land in the middle of the Pacific. Inundated by the intensity of the hues and the lights, it leads to an extreme simplification of the drawing. The color then undoubtedly precedes the drawing itself and Paul Gauguin expresses it with force and violence never before observed. The Fauves painters will then plunge into this wide open way to go even further in this step. Matisse summed up the era that was to open as follows: "Color especially and may be even more than drawing is a freedom."

Derain, Braque, Dufy and Matisse, a mixture of colors

With the Fauves, the drawing is almost completely removed to leave a clear place for colored tasks, surfaces laid in very thick and wide keys of pure colors. These Fauves, however, are by no means painters acting necessarily by instinct, but most of them have even followed rigorous and academic training. Matisse and Marquet met at the “Ecole des Beaux-Arts”, also attended by Camoin and Manguin, while Jean Puy trained in the Julian Academy.

Gathered in homes, in the workshops of Leon Bonnat for Dufy, Friesz and Braque and in Gustave Moreau's workshop for the Fauves mentioned above, they meet together to attack the bourgeois values and pose in total enthusiasm the bases of this new aesthetic. Matisse, the eldest and pivot of the group, was already confirmed by Gustave Moreau: "He did not put us on the right path, but off the classic track." Moreau disrupted our complacency. During the Golden Age of Fauvism, the painters worked as a duo or a trio, during a summer or a journey, exchanging their views on painting. Matisse and Derain spend the summer period of 1905 in Collioure, bracing themselves for the motive, while Friesz and Braque crisscross Antwerp, L'Estaque and La Ciotat. In 1906, Marquet and Dufy sublime the Normandy coast with works with blends of brilliant colors.

A legacy and multiple influences

Collioure, a small French commune on the Vermeille coast, confined to the feet of the Pyrenees and licked by the Mediterranean, is today internationally known as the cradle of Fauvism and benefits from this everyday radiance. Colors, exceptional light, authenticity and picturesque Catalan fishing port will give rise in 1905 to the creation of major works such as the famous "Fenêtre ouverte" by Matisse or "Bateaux à Collioure" by Derain. Many artists will follow their steps: Manguin, Marquet, Picasso, Braque, Dufy, Chagall, Foujita...

The works of the Fauves will open the doors to the increasingly marked abstraction of drawing and image, until reaching abstract art. The works and the open questions about color became the subject of many artists' creations, culminating in the monochrome paintings of Kasimir Malevich and Yves Klein. Others will work on the pure essence of color, each in their own way, in various ways, in a very sensitive way like Mark Rothko or in a much more scientific way like the Op'Art movement.

Armelle Bastide d'Izard and South colors

Armelle Bastide d'Izard meets Impressionist painting late and discovers his vocation as a painter. Passionate and applied, she enters this activity with passion and seriousness. Following the advice of experts, in perfect self-taught, she frequents the museums to learn and train. Armelle cultivates perfection in her paintings. The harmony of colors, the diversity of the subjects, the lightness of the line give the works a refined and spiritual dimension. The paintings are beautiful, generous and in perpetual motion. Among the teachers who inspired him: Matisse, Paul Cézanne and François Desnoyer. Armelle likes to paint the colors of the South and landscapes of lights. She searches for naturalness, simplicity, space and volume. Passionately impressionistic, the color gives wings to his imagination. Each of her paintings is an explosion of nuances spread out with a knife. The artist wishes to convey a message of peace, serenity and spirituality.