André Derain was an early 20th-century French artist who played a major role in the development of Fauvism and Cubism
André Derain played an important role in the development of two of the most significant art movements of the early 20th century. He, Henri Matisse, and Maurice de Vlaminck gave birth to works with a completely new style, which would become Fauvism, and his association with Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque was an integral part of early Cubism.
Life and education
Derain was born in 1880 in Chatou, Yvelines, Île-de-France, just outside Paris. In 1895 Derain began studying on his own; Derain and Matisse worked together during the summer of 1905 and in the same year he exhibited their innovative paintings at the Salon d’Automne. In 1907, the art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler bought Derain’s entire studio, guaranteeing him financial stability. He experimented with stone carving and moved to Montmartre to be close to his friend Pablo Picasso and other well-known artists. In Montmartre, Derain began to move from the bright Fauvist palette to more muted tones, showing the influence of Cubism and Paul Cézanne.
Derain in Nazi’s propaganda
During the German occupation of France in World War II, Derain lived mainly in Paris and was courted by the Germans as a representative of the prestige of French culture. In 1941, Derain accepted an invitation to make an official visit to Germany to attend a Nazi exhibition, using Derain’s from Nazi propaganda, and after the Liberation he was branded as a collaborator and ostracized by many former supporters.
Derain as Fauvist
Derain along with Matisse was one of the founders of the Fauve art movement. Fascinated by the world around him, a popular subject among contemporary artists, however, he wanted to give greater appreciation to the expressionistic qualities of painting. His works attract the attention of the viewer thanks to dense and vibrant brushwork and to the subject itself.
After the Fauvism period
Derain worked for a few years in a stylized form of Cubism, but by the 1920s his paintings of nudes, still lifes, and portraits had become increasingly Neoclassical, and the spontaneity and impulsiveness that had characterized his early works gradually disappeared. His art did not undergo any changes after the 1920s, although his more conservative style brought him financial success.
He died in Garches, Hauts-de-Seine, Île-de-France, France in 1954 when he was hit by a moving vehicle.