The Genre

Toward the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, many artists tried to express their personal emotion. They liked subjects of nature and the human body, and sought to find the true essence of these, by using pure colors and simple forms. Certain artists called “expressionists” also considered themselves to be “fauvists.” The word “fauve” means “wild beast” in French, and in 1905, an art critic described a show by painters including Matisse and Vlaminck as “a cage of wild beasts.” Those artists adopted the term to describe themselves. They used intense colors, strong lines, and shapes that were sometimes childish-looking, which they found to be more “true” and to have more depth of feeling.

French embassy