Fauvism is one of the transitional art movements to be established at the turn of the 20th century (1898 - 1908). This, mainly French, movement is characterised by its use of brilliant colour (normally applied directly from paint tubes) with expressive brushstrokes and generally flat compositions.

In 1905 a group of French artists under the leadership of Henri Matisse exhibited a collection of radically new art works at the Salon d'Autumne in Paris. The shocking nature of this show led the French critic Louis Vauxcelles to deride the artists as "Wild Beasts" or "Les Fauves", and the name just seemed to stick.

Much of this movements work was inspired by post impressionists like Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin and George Seurat with their focus on strong colours and emotional content. As mentioned earlier Fauvism is considered important as a transitional step between art as representation and art as expression. No wonder it had a strong influence on German expressionists such as Wassily Kandinsky. Except for Matisse most of the other members of this movement moved into other areas such as Cubism and an interest in order and structure in contrast to the turbulence that lies at the heart of Fauvism.

References:
http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/glo/fauvism/
http://www.discoverfrance.net/France/Art/fauvism.shtml

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