Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism in France

  • © ATOUT FRANCE/Michel Laurent

Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism in France


From 1905 to 1914, before the First World War, the art of the 20th century began with a pursuit of an experimental art which distinguished itself by names that reflected this pursuit.

The exhibition of the first Fauves, at the 1905 Salon caused a sensation. Vivid and pure colours were used without concern for realism. Here we find H. Matisse, G. Rouault, A. Marquet, A. Derain and M. de Vlaminck. R. Dufy, G. Braque and O. Friesz joined these painters, each bringing a personal vision with their works. Closely related to this short-lived Fauvist school, the tax collector H. Rousseau preferred a naïve art which was later much admired by P. Picasso.

Across the Rhine, the movement known as "Die Brücke", the Bridge, tried in 1905 to form links between artists. These were the first steps of Expressionism, with E. Nolde and his lyrical power and E. Kirchner. This school became established in 1911 with the paintings of the Austrian artist O. Kokoshcka.

In parallel, in 1907 the first paintings of Pablo Picasso appeared, bringing about the birth of Cubism with G. Braque. G. Delaunay, F. Léger, J. Gris soon joined this school which was breaking away from visual reality. Still before the outbreak of war in 1914, the school known as "Der Blaue Reiter"(The Blue Rider) was set up in Munich in 1911. Among the painters involved were W. Kandinsky and P. Klee. The Italian Futurism and the Russian Rayonnism movements followed their example. While S. Valadon, M. Utrillo and M. Chagall, A. Modigliani and C. Soutine formed part of the Independents in Paris, the eve of the Great War saw the beginnings of abstract Art with F. Kupka, Picabia and Mondrian.