This is my final and concluding article about Fauvism.Sarah Whitfield in her book on Fauvism continues her commentary on the combined talents of Derain and Vlaminck.
” At this stage Derain- and Vlaminck were possessed by a vivid romantic ideal of the artist as a hero, a vision fired by the mystique growing around the generation of the 1870’s”. .
” Their enthusiasm was fuelled still further by recollecting the trials endured by the generation during the Franco-Prussian war (1870-1) and the period of the 1871 Commune ‘the blood of our dead in the outskirts and in the streets of Paris” .
Whitfield explains Vlaminck’s Flemish origins and his explosive method of painting particularly landscapes.
” Vlaminck was very conscious of his Flemish origins. His ability to communicate movement in nature is evident here in the swaying branches of the Tree as it is in the more tempestuous works of 1905-8″. .
” Seurat and his followers attempted to invest pigments with the same radiance as light itself by creating an equivalent of light through juxtaposing touches of colour” .
Whitfield now states that without Derain Matisse would have found it difficult to develop Fauvism.
” Matisse opened the path to colour but it can be fairly said that without Derain that path would not have led to Fauvism. Of all the works shown at the 1905 Salon Derain’s the Bridge at Le Pecq is the most aggressively disruptive of contemporary pictorial conventions”. .
” While Matisse had been striving for a surface united in Harmonic order Derain through devices such as the jolt in the foreground from deep shadow to glaring light deliberately invented disharmonies”. .
The work at Colliloure shows how Matisse and Derain working together proved that their explosive combination works.
” The explosive force of the painting that Matisse and Derain did at Colliloure testifies to the suddenness of the excited rapport which developed between them”..
” Matisse always insisted that Fauvism was not only about the use of pure colour, what characterised Fauvism was that we rejected imitative colours and that with pure colours we obtained stronger reaction”. .
Whitfield observes that for Matisse Drawing was an important tool of his De’oeuvre where as Derain used Oil and watercolour.
” While Oil and watercolour were the media that Derain used most often Drawing remained for Matisse a crucial activity a pen-and-ink study made on the beach at Colliloure put into practice how to use drawing to indicate the expression of objects in relation to one another”. .
” The paintings by Matisse and Derain executed in that summer of 1905 are about the physical realities of the canvass and the paint”..
Derain in his future work showed his complete opposition to a scientific outlook and resorted to Idealism with his rejection of the Divisionism and pointillism of Seurat and Signac.
” Derain’s need to eradicate everything involved with the division of tones and the observation that it is a world that carries the seeds of its own destruction (Here is revealed Derain’s subjective Idealist method)”. .
” The most immediate differences between Matisse and Derain is that while the latter persisted with surface held together by line balancing mass- a decorative style Matisse attempted to rid his painting of the sort of formal cohesion”. .
Vlaminck had no doubts about his ability as a Landscape painter as Whitfield argues later in her book on his brilliant depiction of the colourful landscapearound us.
” Unlike Derain Vlaminck never seriously doubted his vocation as a Landscape painter and of all the Fauvists his commitment to Landscape is by far the greatest mainly because it carried for him a strong moral significance”. .
” Among the aspirations which he had recognised in Van Gogh as mutual Nordic affinities was a Revolutionary feeling”..
Whitfield shows how Vlaminck and Matisse represent different aspects of Fauvism.
” But then Matisse and Vlaminck represent two poles of Fauvism , calm and commotion. The point about Vlaminck is that he revelled in nature’s abundance of disorder and accordingly used colour not as a means of making order out of chaos”. .
” The Landscapes that Derain and Matisse had done at Colliloure in 1905 and those that Derain and Vlaminck did at Chatou in 1906 have the genuinely untamed quality the name Fauve implies”. .
To conclude Sarah Whitfield makes two final comments about the art of Matisse , Derain and Vlaminck.
” In bringing together Cezanne’s theme of bathers with the aggression of the Fauve technique – drawing with the brush in short sharp strokes laying the paint on swiftly even roughly and with little heed for correction”. .
” For all the uncertainty and hesitation that followed the brave beginnings of Fauvism the sense of a group of Painters bound together was as strong in 1907 and 1908 as it had been in 1905 and 1906″. .
This concludes my exploration of Fauvism a Revolutionary art movement at the Beginning of the Twentieth century which relied on pure colour.
- FAUVISM SARAH WHITFIELD PG. 36