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Fauvism: Painting Expressive Language of Colours

It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else, said Henry Matisse. This was correct in respect of every artist who paints with original hues of colours. He looked trying to check power and reach of painting as a form of art.

Sometimes we can feel the aggressiveness of the artist, while looking an his or her painting. It is a specific style of painting. The style, initiated in first decade of twentieth century, is named as ‘Fauvism’. Fauve is a wild beast.

Woman With a Hat, Henry Matisse


What is Fauvism

Fauvism is a name of the strong expressive response of the artists. When these artists paint, they do it like the impressionists; but their reactions towards the subjects they painted look stronger.

Henry Matisse and Fauvism

The master painter Henry Matisse had three major qualities in his life: the unmatched talent, ill-health, and disapproval of family for whatever he did. However he was lucky to have a supporting wife: Amelie. She kept his artistic journey unaffected by the family disturbances. Though he continued experimenting with the styles of other painters like Gauguin and Van Gogh, in a subtler way, he rejected the manner in which the impressionist painters depicted three dimensional characters of the objects painted. Though we can see that he uploaded the colours in a little bit robust manner, his paintings are finely balanced and creating a well-managed chiaroscuro. His lines were honestly directed and went to a length of defining the form he chose to paint. Matisse would try finding a space that would allow him to make the colours moving with freedom. He would make these movements of the different colours to define the outline of objects painted on his canvases. (Image courtesy Wikipedia)

In the painting Woman With a Hat, Matisse had used the wildness of the colours to its peak level. We can see the strong brushstrokes splashing the red, blue and green in this painting. This painting got mixed responses from the critics. After seeing this painting, one of the columnists had described it as “A pot of paint has been flung in the face of the public".

In Henry Matisse’s life, a decisive turn had come when he met one master artist, John Peer Russell who was an artists having a wealthy studio. Being an impressionist artists and a good friend of Van Gogh and Monet, Russell introduced Matisse with the beauties of the style of impressionist painters. Matisse was greatly impressed by the work of master impressionists. After this event Matisse’s style of painting had fundamentally changed.

The artists like Paul Gauguin and Andre Derain had also painted their some of the canvases, which were under the style of fauvism. These were the artists who were working in the period known as post-impressionism. These artists, along with other Fauvism and post impressionism painters, had exploited potentials of pure colours to their peak level.

La danse (Dance) by Henry Matisse 1909-1910

The fauvism artists would not select subjects with complexity; they prefer simple forms to reveal the abstract nature of the subject. They would put colours narrating the subjects with a language in loud voice. Their colours would not speak but they would shout their presence on canvases. Their brushes were wild making the colours so outspoken. Fauvism is a style of painting that can be termed as one of the modes of expressionism, too. (Image courtesy Wikipedia)

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