Charing Cross bridge I (1906)
BEST MODERN ART
Andre Derain (1880-1954)
NOTE: For analysis of works by Fauvist
painters like Andre Derain,
By Andre Derain. One of the artist's
USE OF COLOURS
One of the famous painters of the Ecole de Paris, Andre Derain was a leading member of the short-lived colourist movement known as Fauvism. Along with Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958), he was one of the most important Fauvist painters, and a key figure in modern French painting. A member of Picasso's circle in Montmartre, Derain's patrons included the dealer Ambroise Vollard (1866-1939), Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (1884-1979) and Count Etienne de Beaumont, among many others. He was also an illustrator, set designer and sculptor. Although he painted until his 70s, he is best known for his post-Impressionism, notably his brightly coloured fauvist pictures, like his views of London (eg. Charing Cross Bridge, London, c.1905, MOMA; The Pool of London, 1906, Tate Collection; Big Ben, London, 1906, Tate Collection), L'Age d'Or (1906, Museum of Modern Art Tehran) and Portrait of Matisse (1905, Tate Modern, London). His most famous sculpture is the sandstone stauette Crouching Man (1907).
NOTE: For the influence of Andre Derain on 20th century classicism, see: Classical Revival in modern art (c.1900-30).
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Early Life and
Fauvism At the
Salon d'Automne 1905
Derain's fauvist paintings owe a considerable debt to both Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) and Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), artists whose work Derain had seen in major shows in Paris. At the same time, he was influenced by Neo-Impressionism, a style in which a painting is made up of small dots of colour; these fuse in the eye of the viewer when seen from a distance. Derain became familiar with this style through the work of Paul Signac (1863-1935), a major artist whom Matisse had befriended and visited in the southern French village of Saint-Tropez. For more about the contribution of Andre Derain to expressionism, see: History of Expressionist Painting (c.1880-1930).
By 1907 Derain, like the Cubist painters
George Braque (1882-1963) and Pablo Picasso, was also showing considerable
interest in primitive art
forms, such as African
sculpture, which could be seen in the ethnographical museum in Paris.
His sandstone sculpture, Crouching Man (1907), for example, rejected
traditional modeling in favour of carving and was highly influential in
the development of modern sculptural techniques.
In 1907, Derain signed a contract with
Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (Picasso's dealer). Through Kahnweiler, Derain
sold works in Germany and Russia, and exhibited in the United States,
acquiring enough financial security to marry his girlfriend Alice, with
whom he settled in Montmartre. During this period he experimented with
several mediums, including stone sculpture. He moved to Montmartre and
became friendly with other important artists of his time, including Modigliani
and Picasso. While in Montmartre, his colour palette shifted to more muted
tones reflecting the influence of Cubism, in particular Juan
Gris; and also Post-Impressionist painter Paul
Cezanne. He also explored printmaking, and worked with woodcuts, lithographs
and etchings in the Primitivism style, illustrating the first book of
prose by Guillaume Apollinaire
From 1935 Derain lived in the countryside
of Chambourcy, working in near isolation, although he also maintained
an apartment in Paris. During the War, he was invited to Germany on an
official visit, which was exploited by the Nazi propaganda machine. After
the Liberation he was branded a traitor and ostracized by many. He died
just outside of Paris in 1954. In subsequent years, Derain has been recognised
as one of the most influential of French expressionist
painters. Today, as one of the great 20th
century painters, his paintings fetch millions of dollars at auctions
around the world.
Famous works by Derain, which can be seen in the best art museums throughout the world, include:
- The Harbour of Collioure (1905)
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