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Les Fauves

Les Fauves (French for "wild beasts"), a short-lived movement of early Modernist art, emphasized paint itself and the use of deep color over the representational values retained by Impressionism, even with its focus on light and the moment.

The mantra of the Fauves was a quote from Paul Gauguin to Paul Serusier in 1888 to the effect that if the trees looked yellow to the artist then painted a bright yellow they must be. The name, which translates as "wild beasts," was given the group by an art critic following their 1905 seminal show in Paris. The painter Gustave Moreau was the movement's inspirational teacher, a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, who pushed his students to think outside of the lines of formality and to follow their visions.

The leaders of the movement, Moreau's top students, were Henri Matisse and André Derain, friendly rivals of a sort, each with his own followers. The paintings, for example Matisse's 1908 The Desert or Derain's The Two Barges, use powerful reds or other forceful colors to draw the eye. Matisse became the yang to Picasso's yin in the 20th century while time has trapped Derain at the century's beginning, a "wild beast" forever. Their disciples included Albert Marquet, Henri Manguin, Charles Camoin, the Belgian painter Henri Evenepoel, Jean Puy, Maurice de Vlaminck, Raoul Dufy, Emile-Othonriesz, Georges Rouault, the Dutch painter Kees van Dongen, and Picasso's soul brother Georges Braque.

See also