This is the second part of my discussion on the Fauvists. I will continue with the commentary of Sarah Whitfield in her discussion of fauvism.
” 1906 was a triumphant year for the Fauves. The movement reached its climax at the salon De independents where as before Matisse dominated the exhibition”. .
” Baudelaire comments on the Fauves. One feels so strongly that Matisse’s work is the result of years of patient experiment and study. For he commands such order and precision on his compositions that nothing can have been left to chance”. .
Whitfield shows how Matisse cleverly worked out a colour Harmony for all his pictures.
” Matisse believed that colour harmony should be directed towards the same principles on those governing music”. .
” It is also his perception and imagination qualities that he uses in very much the same way as Cezanne did. His profound admiration for Cezanne stemmed from perhaps from a sympathetic understanding of how he looked at things around him”. .
Whitfield also considers the fortunes of the other two Fauve painters Derain and Vlaminck.
” For Derain and Vlaminck too 1906 was a successful year. In Chatou Vlaminck was painting more exuberantly than ever. for him the paint was the sole expressive agent-squeezed straight out of the tube into the swirling lines of impasto that characterises his work”. .
how while Derain was staying in London he painted the same motif’s as Monet the River and Boats up and down the Thames.
” During this time in London Derain produced some of the most outstanding examples of fauvism. He reacted acutely to the varying qualities of light and to the gradations of fog and mists that hung over the River (Thames)”. .
” Just as for Vlaminck so for Derain colour is the theme of his paintings and it is through this medium that he attempts to leapfrog the snares of representation”..
In her own published book on Fauvism Whitfield further explores the expertise of Matisse.
” From the beginning Matisse’s seniority , his authority as an artist and his passionate conviction that new Art could and should find a public singled him out as the driving force among his fellow artists”. .
” The fauves were bound together more through friendship than through any artistic creed. broadly speaking Fauvism followed where Matisse and Derain led”. .
Whitfield spends some time in singling out Matisse as the most important of the Fauves but in my opinion does not give Derain and Vlaminck particularly due credit for their fantastic use of colour.
” One problem in dealing with the fauve painters is the emphasis which inevitably falls on Matisse .Not only is he the leading fauve he is one of the most celebrated painters of the Twentieth Century”. .
” Matisse’s definition of Fauvism , however while accurately recording his own position do not reflect the nuances of opinion and the variety of views that must have existed among a disparate group of artists”. .
Whitfield again continues to concentrate on Matisse this time while he was in London and the influence of the great Revolutionary English Landscape artists JMW Turner.
” Although Matisse’s response to turner was important it was the first experience of a southern climate which made the more profound impression. you must think colour , have imagination with it if you do not have imagination you will never paint beautiful colour”..
” Matisse understood the manner in which Cezanne had unshackled painting from its representational role by making the paint itself the subject of the picture. The way in which every form in a Cezanne is invested with equal weight regardless of its size came as a revelation to him”. .
But did Matisse understand Cezanne fully. I think Whitfield has misrepresented Cezanne who was a Modernist producing Flat pictures. it was Cezanne who led the way to cubism and abstraction .it was not the Fauvists who were the inspiration.Cezanne’s narrowing of the picture plane led to his landscapes being squeezed and altered in shape that gave the inspiration to Picasso and Braque to develop Cubism.
” While Derain was to say later that one had only to see the nudes that Matisse was doing in 1900 to realise that Fauvism had already begun”. .
” Vlaminck’s period of military service and Derain’s too coincided with an escalation of Industrial unrest in France , in rural parts as well as the cities”. .
Referring to Vlaminck’s sympathies during the ferment of industrial action in France before and during the early part of the twentieth Century.
” The determination of the workers is shown by the increasing lengthy strikes , this unrest was further exacerbated by the activities of anarchists who commanded the respect and support of many intellectuals , including a number of paintersassociated with Neo impressionism Paul Signac and Maximillien Luce”. .
This concludes the second part of my discussion into Fauvist painters. In Part 3 I will conclude my exploration of this very bright and colourful exposition of Art at the beginning of the twentieth Century.
- CONCEPTS OF MODERN ART FAUVISM: SARAH WHITFIELD. PG. 22
- FAUVISM: SARAH WHITFIELD THAMES AND HUDSON.PG.7