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(fō`vĭzəm) [Fr. fauve=wild beast], name derisively hurled at and cheerfully adopted by a group of French painters, including Matisse, Rouault, Derain, Vlaminck, Friesz, Marquet, van Dongen, Braque, and Dufy. Although fauvism was a short-lived movement (1905–8), its influence was international and basic to the evolution of 20th-century art. It was essentially an expressionist style, characterized by bold distortion of forms and exuberant color. Only Matisse continued to explore its possibilities after 1908. Most of the others contributed to the development of new styles, such as cubismcubism,
art movement, primarily in painting, originating in Paris c.1907. Cubist Theory

Cubism began as an intellectual revolt against the artistic expression of previous eras.
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, which immediately followed the fauvist movement.


See J. P. Crespelle, The Fauves (tr. 1962); J. É. Muller, Fauvism (1967); S. Whitfield, Fauvism (1990).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an avant-garde movement in French painting of the early 20th century. The ironic epithet les fauves (“the wild beasts”) was given by critics to a group of painters including H. Matisse, P.-A. Marquet, G. Rouault, M. de Vlaminck, A. Derain, R. Dufy, G. Braque, and K. van Dongen, who exhibited their works at the Salon d’Automne in Paris in 1905.

In contrast to German expressionism, fauvism had neither a consciously adopted program nor a moral or philosophical orientation, but rather represented a purely aesthetic protest against 19th-century artistic traditions and an affirmation of an independent new outlook on painting. The fauves, who painted in various styles, were united for a short period, from 1905 to 1907, by their attraction to terse graphic forms, intense color contrasts, pronounced compositional rhythms, and a decorative and laconic technique, as well as a search for new inspiration in primitive, medieval, and Oriental art.


Leymarie, J. Le Fauvisme. [Geneva, 1959.]
Muller, J.-E. Le Fauvisme. Paris [1967].
Diehl, G. The Fauves. New York, 1975.
Oppler, E. C. Fauvism Reexamined. New York, 1976.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
A fauvist woman, dressed as Matisse's "Lady in Blue," approached me.
One father and daughter team became tempera paint "Fauvists" by experimenting with color.
Inspired by the Fauvists, each of my pieces is a celebration of light and color, a vivid interpretation of my subjects.
Matisse and his followers were called the Fauvists, after the French word meaning "wild beasts", because they painted in an uninhibited way.
Ultimately, Greenberg would seem to favor one side over the other: The "impure" exists to challenge and strengthen the "pure." Symbolism made it possible for the Fauvists and Cubists to realize that "ambitious painting" had to be "antiliterary." Dada and Surrealism inspired the Abstract Expressionists to develop a new kind of abstraction.
The involvement of modernists groups such as the Fauvists, Cubists and German Expressionists with art negre helped establish the later 'cult of the primitive' in the context of the Surrealist movement.
This strong color palette is based on the complementary chromatic scale, much in the way the French 'Fauvists' used them--the 'mystery' of the opposites."
He painted intently, disregarding all the topical trends (the Nabis, Pointillists, Fauvists, Cubists), and declared to his astonished contemporaries, "The subject is not important to me; what I want to reproduce is what exists between the subject and me." Near the end of his life, as a result of his intense efforts to place what he painted in the proper light and shade, he banished the subject from his paintings, bringing about the birth of abstract art (1).
Both in a pre-expressionist, fauvist variant, and also in formulas created within the expressionistic groups, The deck and The blue knight, the aesthetic begins by intensifying emotion (against all rules and techniques), by asserting the emotion to dislodge or explode the shape (in the abstractionist perspective).
Plastic expressionism is the abysmal labour of the sensitive, placed through successive sublimation (the sublimation itself being the sign of this deep labour) from the very poetic fauvist of the pure sensation.