Andre Derain

French Fauve Painter & Sculptor Co-founded Fauvism with Matisse André Derain was born in Châtou, a suburb of Paris. Excellent scholar that he was, Derain had first planned to become an engineer before suddenly deciding to study art at the Académie Julian. He shared a studio with his friend Vlaminck, painted with Matisse at Collioure near Marseilles, and was a frequent visitor to the ramshackle studios on the rue Ravignan, known as the Bateau Lavoir, where his friends Braque and Picasso worked. In 1905, he became a member of the Fauvist (wild beast) group, along with Maurice de Vlaminck and Henri Matisse. The group was so named because of the savage nature of the bold and unrealistic color used by the artists. Most of Derain's works of this period were landscapes and cityscapes, such as London Bridge. They show the typical Fauvist characteristics of raw color (often squeezed onto the canvas directly from the tube), choppy brushstrokes, frenzied composition, and lack of concern for perspective or the realities of a scene. As a Fauve Derain was principally concerned with line and color and enjoyed squeezing tubes of bright color on his canvas, particularly pinks, blues, and violets. In and around 1908, Derain turned to the study of form and structure, and experimented with Cubism, Impressionism, and the styles of van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cezanne, in an effort to find a style that pleased him. An early interest in the Renaissance masters led him to a further study of paintings of the past and he went as far back as the Italian primitives and the Gothic masters. During his years of study he worked as a wood-engraver and illustrated many famous books, like Rabelais' "Pantagruel", a work indicative of his sensitivity to and understanding of the past. He also executed a great many sets and costumes for the Ballet Russe. In the later years of his career, after 1920, he painted brilliant still lives, classical landscapes, and some of the finest portraits of his day, although none of these were ever exhibited. Derain was a strange, moody, highly intellectual man who disliked the painting produced during his own lifetime to the extent that he retired to the country to live in almost complete solitude and seemed almost determined to be forgotten. Early in 1954, when Derain showed symptoms of eye trouble and mental incapacity, he was treated at a clinic near Paris until he became well enough to return home. Shortly thereafter he was hit by a car on his way home from a nearby garage. Derain died a few weeks later from shock.

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