Fauvism: Biographical and Critical Study

Fauvism: Biographical and Critical Study

Fauvism: Biographical and Critical Study

Fauvism: Biographical and Critical Study

Excerpt

Excited handling of pure colors and drastic simplification of line -- such was Fauvism, the first art revolution of the 20th century. Neither a school nor a system, Fauvism, like all fruitful movements, was born of the chance encounter and common aspirations of a group of young, independent painters who reacted more or less alike to the climate of the times.

With Matisse as their "ringleader," the Fauves were the center of attraction at the famous Salon d'Automne of 1905. The explosive violence of their canvases touched off a scandal comparable to that of the First Impressionist Exhibition at Nadar's in 1874. "A pot of colors flung in the face of the public," was the indignant verdict of one critic, Camille Mauclair, who saw in this strange new art a threat to all accepted standards of decency and decorum. Even Gustave Geffroy, then one of the few defenders of contemporary art, who later prefaced the catalogue of Vlaminck's second one-man show, was baffled at first by these "color eccentricities," which drew down a storm of insult and mockery, just as Manet Olympia and Monet Gare Saint-Lazare series had done years before.

But a name was wanted. Louis Vauxcelles, avant-garde critic of the Gil Blas, came to the rescue, just as he was to do again in 1908 when he coined the term Cubism. To cushion the shock perhaps, several pieces of traditionalist sculpture stood in the room that had been set apart for the works of the new group. There, amid canvases whose shrill and garish colors clamored for the visitor's attention, Vauxcelles noticed a child's torso and a woman's bust of Florentine inspiration (they were the work of the sculptor Albert Marque) and exclaimed to Matisse who was standing nearby: "Look! Donatello in a cage of wild beasts (chez les fauves)!" This quip was reported in the Gil Blas of October 17 and the term "Fauve" caught on at once; its . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.