Fauvist Nude

Nationality, Life:

American, 20th Century


Late 20th Century


Oil on canvas


This striking female nude, painted in a Fauvist manner, bears all the psychological intimacy, solid composition and bold fields of outlined color present in the works of Henri Matisse. Fauvism is the style of les Fauves (French for “the wild beasts”), a short-lived and loose group of early twentieth-century Modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong color over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism.


The leaders of the movement were Henri Matisse and André Derain.Besides Matisse and Derain, other artists included Albert Marquet, Charles Camoin, Louis Valtat, the Belgian painter Henri Evenepoel, Maurice Marinot, Jean Puy, Maurice de Vlaminck, Henri Manguin, Raoul Dufy, Othon Friesz, Georges Rouault, the Dutch painter Keesvan Dongen, the Swiss painter Alice Bailly, and GeorgesBraque (subsequently Picasso’s partner in Cubism).


The paintings of the Fauves were characterizedby seemingly wild brush work and strident colors, whiletheir subject matter had a high degree of simplification andabstraction. Other key influences were Paul Cézanne andPaul Gauguin, whose employment of areas of saturatedcolor—notably in paintings from Tahiti—strongly influencedthe Fauvists and other twentieth century artists to follow.Similarities can certainly be drawn between Gauguin’sTahitian women and the nude resting on a bright green throw.


The artist has succeeded in creating a masterfulcomposition built upon a strong palette of color, andapplied with bold, confident brush strokes. The very natureof the painting achieves a deep level of intimacy as wethe viewer, watch on while the subject quietly slumbers.