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Fauvism (Vlaminck. Restaurant La Machine à Bougival, 1905 Huile sur toile, 60 × 81,5 cm, Musée d'Orsay, Paris.)

Color can project mood and create structure in the artwork at the same time without having to be faithful to the natural world. Abstract, realistic or maybe a portrait... You guessed it, we are talking about Fauvism!

But what do you know about this artistic movement? You want to know more. When did Fauvism come back to life? What are the characteristics of fauvism that the fauvist artists? Do I know any Fauvist artworks? Questions upon questions answered here.

Art has had a wide variety of functions throughout its history, which makes it difficult to capture its purpose in a single concept. This does not mean that the purpose of art is "fuzzy", but that it had many unique and different reasons for its creation. In its simplest form, art is a form of communication.

Most forms of communication have an intention or purpose that is directed at others. Illustrative art such as B. scientific illustration is an art form as communication.

However, the content does not have to be scientific. Stories, emotions and feelings are also conveyed through art.

Artists and scientists have emphasized psychological and healing purposes. Art is used as art therapy by psychotherapists and clinical psychologists.

The end product (the images) is not the main objective in this case, but a healing process through creative activity is sought. The resulting artwork, whether a type of cubism, abstract painting or fauvism, can also provide insight into the patient's problems and suggest appropriate approaches to conventional forms of psychiatric therapy.

But why are you interested in this subject? Do you want to learn about painting or do you already have some experience?

Have you been looking for a fauvism painting to color in Paint By Numbers Paradise? Of course there are some in the range and you will find them too after reading this post! Now learn all about fauvism and how art can help relieve your stress.

What is Fauvism?

Fauvist art is a style of painting that flourished in France at the turn of the 20th century. Fauvist artists used pure, bright colors applied aggressively and directly from the tube to create an explosion on the canvas.

History of Fauvism

The name "Les Fauves" (the wild beasts) was coined by the critic Louis Vauxcelles when he saw the works of Henri Matisse and André Derain in an exhibition at the Salon d'Automne in Paris in 1905.

The paintings that Derain and Matisse exhibited were the result of a summer spent together in Collioure, southern France, and were created with bright, non-naturalistic colors (often applied directly from the tube) and wild, loose strokes of paint.

The shapes of the motifs were also simplified, so that their works seemed quite abstract.

Like the Impressionists before them, the Fauves painted directly from life, but the Fauvists' works were characterized by a strong expressive response to the subjects presented.

When Fauvist paintings were first officially exhibited in Paris in 1905, they shocked visitors to the annual Salon d'Automne.

Important figures in Fauvism

The leader of the group was Henri Matisse, who came to the Fauvist style after experimenting with the various post-impressionist approaches of Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Georges Seurat.

Matisse's studies led him to reject traditional representations of three-dimensional space and instead seek a new pictorial space defined by the movement of color.

At the 1905 Exhibition, he exhibited his famous Woman with a Hat (1905). In this painting, vibrant strokes of color - shades of blue, green, and red - form an energetic and expressive vision of the woman. The crude application of paint, leaving areas of the raw canvas bare, surprised viewers at the time.

Other major Fauvists were André Derain, who had gone to school with Matisse in 1898-99, and Maurice de Vlaminck, who was a friend of Derain. They shared Matisse's interest in the expressive function of color in painting and exhibited together for the first time in 1905. Derain's Fauvist paintings translate each tone of a landscape into pure color, applied with short, bold brushstrokes.

Three young painters from Le Havre, France, were also influenced by Matisse's bold and vivid works.

  • Raoul Dufy developed a carefree, ornamental version of the bold style,
  • Othon Friesz found the emotional connotations of vivid fauve colors a relief from the mediocre impressionism he had practiced, and
  • Georges Braque created a distinct sense of rhythm and structure from small patches of color that prefigured his development of Cubism.

Albert Marquet, Matisse's fellow student at the École des Beaux-Arts in the 1890s, was also a representative of Fauvism, as was the Dutchman Kees van Dongen , who applied his Fauvist imagery to representations of Parisian fashionable society. Other painters associated with the Fauves include Georges Rouault, Henri Manguin, Charles Camoin and Jean Puy.

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Fauvism - Probably the shortest artistic period in painting

For most of these artists, Fauvism was a period of transition and learning. By 1908, a renewed interest in Paul Cézanne's vision of the order and structure of nature had led many of them to reject the tumultuous emotionality of Fauvism in favor of the logic of Cubism. Only Matisse continued on the path he had taken, finding a refined balance between his own emotions and the landscapes he painted.

The history of Fauvist art is as intense as it is short. Below is a summary of the history of the emergence of Fauvism from beginning to end.

The precursors: 1904

The painters of the Fauvist movement were all between 20 and 30 years old at the time of the rise of Fauvist painting and were born at a very turbulent time. The defeat against Germany was still fresh, Paris was ill. All the painters of this period grew up in bad conditions, which, probably in combination with the many political conflicts, had a significant influence on their artistic work.

The birth of Fauvism: 1905

In 1905, all the Fauvist artists of the time exhibited together for the first time at the Salon d'Automne. This was also the starting signal for many other joint exhibitions. Although the painters were criticized and mostly unpopular, some art dealers and collectors noticed this new style. They saw the potential of the short period of Fauvism.

At the Zenith of French Art History: 1906

Other artists such as Raoul Dufy, Othon Friesz and Georges Braque were inspired by the new style and contributed their works. Thus, in 1906, exhibitions were organized in collaboration with the old guard of the Fauves. The highlight was the Autumn Salon in Paris.

The end of Fauvism: 1907

By 1906, the artists of Fauvism were developing in different directions. Matisse concentrated on the use of color and large-scale contours. By 1907, the Fauves split into different camps, with Cubism being particularly popular. For his part, Braque was a pioneer of Cubism, which had evolved from Fauvism.

Although the Fauves moved on to new styles, the art movement continued to inspire new generations of artists in the decades that followed. Fauvism - Expressionism came close.

Characteristics of Fauvism

The precursor to Fauvism was Impressionism. Fauvism is a style of classical modernism in painting, which is characterized by a highly simplified representation, intense colors and a raw stroke approach. The following characteristics characterize the style of Fauvist painting:

  • Patterns
  • Thick, wild brushstrokes
  • Simplified forms
  • Coloration


The subjects were diverse. Everything from portraits to nudes to objects to landscapes were represented. Nevertheless, the emphasis on natural scenes must be emphasized. In particular, the landscapes of southern France inspired painters. Derain and Matisse were attracted by the luminosity of the landscapes.

Thick and wild brushstrokes

In Fauvism, the goal was certainly not to paint particularly realistic pictures. This style is characterized by wild brush strokes and a reduction to the essential. Something realistic and also abstract, a very exciting combination.

Simplified forms

Reality was no longer in the foreground, as already mentioned - in complete contrast to impressionism. In Fauvism, the landscapes came to life mainly through forms and not through realistic representations.


The use of color was central to the artistic creation and distinct from other styles. Color mixtures were made with brushstrokes of different pure colors.

Although oil paints were also used, they were often applied directly to the canvas from the paint tube. Virtually no color was mixed before the actual painting process.

Very few painters also used muted tones. The meadows were suddenly blue and the water was green. Above all, pure and vivid colors predominate.

Name - Fauvism

The name Fauvism has its origins in the French word "Fauves"/wild animals. This expression was born during an exhibition in Paris in 1905. A group of artists exhibited their Fauvist paintings. A bust of the artist Albert Marque stood among the hanging paintings.

The art critic Louis Vauxcelles, who visited the exhibition, felt that the beautiful bust was surrounded by wild animals. This was taken up in a newspaper article, from which the Fauves came out. At that time, the artists did not consider themselves a conspiratorial group developing a new style of art. Instead, they resisted being called Fauves and wanted to be seen as individuals.

Influences of Fauvism and what happened after

Even after most of the Fauvist artists abandoned this artistic style, the Fauvist movement was not over. Especially in Spain, Hungary and Belgium, famous artists such as Kandinsky or Malevich were inspired by the art movement. These artists were among the pioneers of abstract painting. Fauvism was a brief but extremely important period. The unique style helped define and inspire generations of painters who followed them.

Producing art relieves stress hormones on all levels

The Fauvists recognized this as well, who really let off steam with their art and certainly didn't suffer much stress!

Whether you paint like Van Gogh or you're a matchstick artist, a study from Drexel University found that the art of painting can significantly reduce stress-related hormones in your body. The study found that everyone seems to benefit equally.

This is not surprising because this is the fundamental principle of art therapy: everyone is creative and can express themselves in the visual arts when working in a supportive environment. However, it was rather expected that the impact might be greater for those who already had experience.

Vlaminck. La Seine à Chatou, 1906

Vlaminck. La Seine à Chatou, 1906
Huile sur toile, 82,5 × 102 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Biomarkers" are biological indicators (e.g., hormones) that are used to identify conditions in the body, such as stress, for example, have it measured. Cortisol is one such hormone that was measured through saliva samples in the study. The higher a person's cortisol levels, the more stressed they are.

For the study, 39 adults between the ages of 18 and 59 were invited to participate in a 45-minute art event. Cortisol levels were measured before and after the art event.

Materials provided to participants included markers and paper, play dough, and collage materials. No instructions were given and each participant could use whatever materials they chose to create any piece of art.

An art therapist was present during the activity to intervene at the participant's request. Of the participants in the study, nearly half reported having limited experience creating art.

The researchers found that 75% of the participants had a decrease in cortisol levels during the 45-minute art activity. Although there were some differences in cortisol levels, there was no association between previous art experiences and lower levels.

Painting by Number Fauvism Parr under an umbrella

Painting by Number - Couple under the Umbrella

Creative activities can definitely contribute to psychological well-being and therefore physiological health too!

Order a set of paint-by-numbers today to immerse yourself in art at home and possibly with fauvist designs from our range. Not only do you get a great end result, but you also have fun and relieve pent-up stress.

Painting by numbers has become one of the main hobbies of the last 2 years and it is not surprising, especially in times of crisis!


One of Fauvism's most important contributions to modern art was its radical quest to free color from its descriptive and representational purpose and allow it to exist as an independent element on the canvas.

Another central artistic concern of Fauvism was the overall balance of the composition. The simplified forms and saturated colors of the Fauves drew attention to the inherent flatness of the canvas or paper, and within this pictorial space each element played a specific role. The immediate visual impact of the work must be strong and consistent.