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Fauvism is considered to be one of the first major avant-garde movements to occur in Europe during the 20th century. This style of art is characterized by the way the paintings would use very vibrant and exuberant, but colors that were not natural. In many ways, this was similar to the expressionist style due to the distorted landscapes in the paintings. It was about vivid color and painterly qualities rather than the realistic approach of impressionism. This type of art was inspired by artists like Georges Seurat and Vincent van Gogh.
Goal of Fauvism
There has been a lot of comparison between Fauvism and the German expressionism. Both of these art styles emphasized the usage of bold colors and spontaneous brushworks. They also both took inspiration from the same artists, such as van Gogh. The biggest difference between these two styles is that the French focused more on the composition of the painting whereas the German expressionists were more focused on the emotional impact of the piece. These art works stand out even today due to their vibrant colors that screamed emotion while not sticking to the constraints of realism in nature.
This art form didn’t last long, primarily disappearing after the 1930s. Many of the early artists of this movement used this movement as more of a transitional period during their art rather than a style they stuck with. Matisse was one of the only artists who stuck with this style of art throughout his entire career, even if he did adopt some other styles as well. Georges Brauque would go on to work with Pablo Picasso to develop cubism. Some of these artists went onto the neoclassical style, a more traditional approach to art. The art form may not have lasted long in terms of art periods, but it was still a style that did have an impact on future art styles.
The group of artists that started this movement were known as The Fauves, which means “wild beasts”. This loosely associated group of artists were students of Gustave Moreau, who was a symbolist artist. One of these students, Henri Matisse, would become the leader of The Fauves. This group wanted to redefine the idea of pure color, using intense color schemes as a way to communicate the emotions of the artist. For this reason, it would become an important gateway to other movements like expressionism and cubism. Color had this incredible ability to project a mood while establishing the structure of the work regardless of how “true” the colors were to nature.
Fauvism was an art movement that was very much focused on the individual expression of the artist, something this movement valued greatly. The entire composition of these pieces is about the artist’s individual experience of its subject and the emotional response they experienced in nature. There was no concern over the academic theory that they were taught. These artists rejected the traditional 3D space and used patches of color or flat areas to create the space in the painting.