André Derain

1880 - 1954

About the artist

André Derain was a French painter, sculptor and the co-founder of Fauvism with Henri Matisse. He began to study painting in 1895 on his own and in 1898 met Matisse when attending painting classes under Eugène Carrière. Derain and Matisse worked together through the summer of 1905 and later that year displayed their paintings at the Salon d’Automne. Their works were dubbed les Fauves, or ‘the wild beasts’ because of the vivid, unnatural colours. This marked the start of the Fauvist movement. In 1907 Derain moved to Montmartre to be near his friend Pablo Picasso. There, he shifted to more muted tones, showing the influence of Cubism and Paul Cézanne. The years 1911-1914 are sometimes referred to as Derain’s gothic period; the role of colour was reduced and forms became austere. After the war, he became the leader of the renewed classicism. He designed the ballet La Boutique fantasque for Diaghilev of the Ballets Russes. In 1941, he attended a Nazi exhibition of a officially endorsed artist, and after the Liberation he was therefore ostracized by many former supporters.