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Artists André Derain
André Derain Photo

André Derain

French Painter, Writer, Set Designer, Illustrator, and Sculptor

Movements and Styles: Fauvism, Divisionism, Cubism

Born: June 17, 1880 - Chatou, France

Died: September 8, 1954 - Garches, France

André Derain Timeline

Quotes

"The aim we are setting ourselves is happiness, a happiness that we must consistently create."
André Derain
"I never lost touch with the Old Masters, and by the age of eighteen I was already familiar with all existing reproductions of their masterpieces...for what benefit comes from a lack of culture?"
André Derain
"Such doctrines have above all taught us to belong to our own period. However, seized by doubts as I am, I propose to attempt something most difficult: to belong to all time. By doing so, it will lead us towards truth and simplicity and that, if one wishes to adhere to one's own era, is still more complicated."
André Derain
"Doubt is everywhere and lies in everything."
André Derain
"One ought not to forget the only complete definition of art lies in the transition from the subjective to the objective."
André Derain
"To abandon myself to color for the sake of color."
André Derain
"The further I go the more alone I am. And I fear to be abandoned completely."
André Derain, In response to pre-war spiritual crisis

"For us Fauvism was like an ordeal by fire...our paints became sticks of dynamite. They were supposed to explode with light."

André Derain Signature

Synopsis

André Derain had a major role in the development of two of the most significant artistic movements of the early-20th century. He, Henri Matisse, and Maurice de Vlaminck were responsible for generating works with a totally new style which would become Fauvism and his association with Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque was integral to early Cubism. Nevertheless, his contribution as the generator of the ideas behind these movements is constantly debated, and some consider his work derivative. This is due in part to the fact that, continually in search of artistic meaning and attempting to create a timeless art removed from the specificity of the modern age, he experimented with different stylistic idioms. Whichever side of the Derain debate you end up on, we can all appreciate his use of expressive vibrant color, his simplification of form, and his fascination with primitive art were constants throughout his work and played a major role in the creation and propagation of early Modern Art.

Key Ideas

Derain was one of the founders of the Fauve artistic movement along with Matisse. Although fascinated by the world around him, a popular subject among contemporary artists, he wanted to give a much greater appreciation to the expressionistic qualities of paint. His works are characterized by dense, vibrant brushworks that attract the viewer's attention as much as the subject itself.
Derain's interest in primitive masks began after viewing those exhibited at the Negro Museum in London, and he was one of the first to collect tribal art from Africa. It is likely that he was responsible for the interest in primitive elements espoused by Cubist artists such as Picasso and Braque. Derain was briefly interested in Cubist stylistic elements himself but his stylistic exploration of it was very brief.
Derain's search for an art that didn't need context to be of value, that would have a meaning for any generation, aligned him with the school of Symbolism. His decorative paintings describing the beauty of nature and individuals enjoying that nature differ significantly from those by the Impressionists before him who tried to depict modern life more realistically. His focus is more the beauty of what is described on the canvas, regardless of specifics. This generality denoted an inclination toward the idealism of Classical Art.
The Nazi Regime was especially attracted to Derain's later embrace of a Classical style, the embrace of Greek grandeur suiting their own claim to superior roots. Yet his alignment with the Nazi party during their occupation of France earned him a questionable place in the history of modern painting, forever compromising his revolutionary contributions.

Biography

André Derain Photo

Childhood

André Derain was born in the Parisian suburb of Chatou. He grew up in a middle-class family. His father worked as a pastry chef and served as a municipal councilor.

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André Derain Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
André Derain
Interactive chart with André Derain's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

RaphaelRaphael
Georges SeuratGeorges Seurat
Paul SignacPaul Signac
Jean-Baptiste-Camille CorotJean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Paul GauguinPaul Gauguin

Personal Contacts

Émile ZolaÉmile Zola
Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso
Henri MatisseHenri Matisse
Paul CézannePaul Cézanne

Movements

Post-ImpressionismPost-Impressionism
Primitivism in ArtPrimitivism in Art

Influences on Artist
André Derain
André Derain
Years Worked: 1898 - 1953
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Maurice de VlaminckMaurice de Vlaminck
Giorgio de ChiricoGiorgio de Chirico
Wassily KandinskyWassily Kandinsky
Ernst Ludwig KirchnerErnst Ludwig Kirchner

Personal Contacts

Georges Florentin Linaret
Guillaume ApollinaireGuillaume Apollinaire
Ambroise VollardAmbroise Vollard
Clive BellClive Bell
Alfred H. Barr, Jr.Alfred H. Barr, Jr.

Movements

ExpressionismExpressionism
SurrealismSurrealism
Valori plasticiValori plastici

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Sheryl Siclari-Ostyn

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Caroline Igra

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Sheryl Siclari-Ostyn
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Caroline Igra
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