Fauvism, what is its meaning?

What is Fauvism?

It is said that of the artistic movements of the 20th century, Fauvism was the most fleeting and the most difficult to define.

Les fauves , the beasts , Fauvism was called the style of painting that during the years 1904 and 1907 was developed mainly by Henri Matisse (one of the artists whose most paintings have been stolen) , André Derain , Maurice Vlaminck and Braque- during a short space of time-, and whose geographical center was located in Paris .

As we can see, the chronological period that he understood is brief.

The  Fauvists , if they can be called that as we will now see, were based on freedom of expression, the use of pure colors, exaggerating perspective and drawing.

His work was experimental, but as we said, calling something  Fauvism  is complicated because not even Matisse himself  , perhaps the least, recognized the existence of a pictorial movement as such. All denied that they participated in a School or Doctrine.

Although they shared the qualification of “beasts” due to the abrupt and violent method used in their painting, something contrary to impressionism or neo-impressionism.

They also shared tastes:  Baudelaire ,  Zola ,  Van Gogh …

The “Salon d´Automne” and the “Salon des Indèpendants”

What happened is that since 1905 all of them participated in two of the main modern art exhibitions held in Paris, the “Salon d´Automne” and the ” Salon des Indèpendants “.

This circumstance made them appear to be a group, even saying of them, of  Fauvism , that it was “an introduction to cubism”, as Apollinaire anticipated. Or more directly, that cubism was first elaborated in André Derain’s mind.

Above we can see Matisse’s painting, «The joy of living». In the lower image, Picasso’s painting «The young ladies of Avignon».

Picasso, The Ladies of Avignon

Seeing it like this, Apollinaire’s words make sense. More if possible considering that Picasso was included in the Fauvist movement for his 1900 paintings.

Gustave Moreau’s workshop

The training of all these artists was forged in Gustave Moreau’s workshop.

In 1895, Marquet, Manguin, Camoin, Puy or Rouault were also studying there, who at the same time were cataloged as  Fauvists . Moreau tried to open the eyes of his pupils by criticizing his own work, reviewing the classics, but without the intention of perpetuating a closed style.

This attitude provoked antipathies among critics. Especially because Moreau’s philosophy focused on the lack of importance given to the themes of pictorial works. For him it seemed that the time had come to seek less orthodox paths.

But Moreau died soon, in 1898, and his workshop, without the main tutor, was closed.

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 Happening as an Artistic Trend

Analysis: The Persistence of Memory. Salvador Dali

Matisse  looked for another school. He enrolled in the workshop of Cormon, a painter who, unlike his previous teacher, asked his students to abide by the academic rules. A  Matisse  he made up all that theory and that form of enteder reality. He soon had to understand how Cormon was asking him to leave his school.

From what we see, at the beginning of the 20th century, there was a clear difference between two ways, two techniques, two visions of facing the artistic fact. Perhaps the reality required a renovation, as in the beginning of the XXI century.

Thus, far from polemics or discussions about what should be, something different emerged from the joint work between Derain and  Matisse  , the beginning of  Fauvism .

From then on, perhaps without looking for it, they already had a name for the History of Art.

They both went to Coilloure in 1906, a town also famous for being the place of exile and eternal rest for Antonio Machado.

In the French people they begin to use pointillism, as Derain would do; or leave spaces unpainted on the canvas, giving an idea of ​​fluctuating space. Derain was presented with garish red, green and yellow landscapes.

The critics did not like the carelessness in the termination. What would be considered the great success of the

it was Matisse’s play   , “The Joy of Living.” With the only one that appeared, and that time later is always compared with “The Women of Avignon”, as we saw before.

Later,   Matisse was  worse off. The portrait of a woman with a hat, in addition to being described as distasteful, was considered a «caricature of femininity» Eccentric due to the family theme treated.

Time seems to have taken reasons away from these twentieth-century critics. Something similar to what happens in the beginning of the XXI.

Matisse Luxe Calme et Volupté. 1904

This painting by  Matisse : “Luxe Calme et Volupté” from 1904 is said to stem from the influence of  Baudelaire 

Happening as an Artistic Trend

Definition of artistic Happening

The happening is about involving the public as much as possible in the work of art, making them participate. Furthermore, in the happening music, theater and, also as an expressive element, the visual-plastic intervene. Music, in reality, is usually sounds and noises, while theater is based on monologues or dialogues. The truth is that the happening admits everything, even smells as a form of expression.
In the words of M. McLuham, it is “a sudden situation without arguments”.

At first it was understood that it was based on improvisation, something that was not true since the artist was based on a script that he made available to the public, who also acts as actors, and although certain obvious rules are specified, the The development of the action is part of the will of the participating public.

First samples of happening

The performances at the Black Mountain concerts of the musician, thinker and philosopher John Cage, between 1951 and 1925, are considered the historical precedents of Happening. Any place was ideal for the representation of the happening.

At first it seems that open spaces were chosen, outdoors.

However, there are samples of happening in the early days in warehouses or metro stations, to name a few.

El Happening como Tendencia Artística


Another characteristic of this form of expression was to break with the established, with the static of the traditional theater, hence its representation in theaters or art galleries was difficult. In fact, some of the first happenings took place in unison in different parts of the same city.

However, some of the early happenings were staged in major art galleries, such as the Reben Gallery in New York City.

John Cage is an important figure in contemporary art, not only for his obvious contributions to music but also for his role as a thinker, writer and philosopher, including his contribution to the birth of Happening.

The United States has the honor of being the birthplace of this form of artistic expression. It was the neo-Dadaist works of Jasper Johns and Rauschenberg that stimulated artists such as Rauschenberg, who in October 1959 staged his first happening entitled “18 happenings in 6 parts”.

The happening in Europe

In old Europe the Happening took on a more rebellious tone, if you will, more revolutionary and even aggressive. Inspired by the historical moment, they criticized society and politics. In 1966, several artists signed a document declaring their intention to influence the political-social reality so that individuals would gain consciousness.

The document would be signed by names like Joseph Beuys, Wolf Vostel or Jean-Jacques Lebel, the latter participant in artistic movements such as the permanent Happening of the Latin Quarter in times of May 68.

Varieties and classes

Another variety of the happening of this early period is the so-called “ritual,” which attempted to recover magical aspects of primitive societies. The representatives of Vienna Actionism, Otto Mühl, Hermann Nitsch, to name a few names, would be the standard bearers of a new formula of.

Some of the videos of this “school” can be found, although we reserve their recommendation because among them we can see a man eating his own vomit or scenes that are difficult to describe, closer to eschatology than to the exhibition of artistic beauty, under our opinion.

happening: example


Well yes, Dada is closely related to Happenings.

Although the terms “performance” and “performance art” were used in the 1970s, the history of performance, especially with regard to the visual arts, dates back to futuristic productions of the 1910s, Dadaism.

Throughout the 20th century, these artistic practices were seen as an untraditional way of making art.

In the postwar period, after World War II, performances were aligned with conceptual art, due to their often immaterial nature.

Now, for a part of artists and critics in the world of visual arts, the term has been used to describe works of art based on films, videos, photographs and installations through which the actions of artists are transmitted. .

More recently, performances have been understood as a way of engaging directly with social reality and identity politics. In 2016, theorist Jonah Westerman argued that ‘a performance is not (and never was) a medium, it is not something that a work of art can be, rather it is a set of questions and concerns about how art relates to people and with the social world in general «.

Examples of Happening

Iimage by Sol Goldberg on the participants of the happening: «Women licking the jam from a car by Allan Kaprow«. (1964). Image from the Getty Research Institute. © Estate of Sol Goldberg. Tate.

Robert Whitman – American Moon, 1960 (image: oss.adm.ntu.edu.sg)

Sluice Art Fair 2013. Photo: Laura Mott

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Fauvism, what is its meaning?

Diego Velázquez: the personal life of genius

We inquire about the painter Diego Velázquez and his personal life and his family

The painter Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, such was his full name, is considered worldwide as one of the most important artists in all of History. And with good reason.

Velázquez remains a unique reference in the history of painting, a reference that continues to fascinate anyone who contemplates his paintings more than four hundred years after his death.
However, very few people know data of this very interesting character beyond his trade as a painter and the incredible paintings, made by his hand, that have reached us. But…

Diego Velázquez: the personal life of genius

What was Velázquez’s life, beyond his paintings?

Diego Velázquez’s family

Diego was born in Seville in the year 1599, when the 16th century was already lighting his last days.

His parents were Juan Rodríguez de Silva and Jerónima de Velázquez, who would later have seven other children. Although Velázquez always defended that his father was a gentleman, it is an extreme that has not been demonstrated and many scholars think that he defended this fact to obtain positions and honors that were forbidden to people whose ancestry was not noble.

In fact, when he was named a knight of Santiago, he had to obtain a dispensation of nobility by the pope to be able to access such honor, since the inquiries made about whether he met the requirements or not to enter the order revealed that they had serious doubts that his immediate ancestors had had noble blood, so he could not access the rank of knight of Santiago by the usual means.

But, regardless of the nobility that Velázquez later defended for his family, in his childhood his parents and his brothers spent many hardships.

Juan Rodríguez de Silva was an ecclesiastical notary and the money he earned was hardly given to feed his growing family. Thus, from an early age he tried to get his oldest son to have a job with which to make a living.

For this, he linked Diego (and later also his brother Juan, although with much less fortune) to the increasingly lucrative arts business.

At the age of ten, he left the family home to become an apprentice to the famous ‘Francisco Herrera el Viejo’ and, shortly thereafter, Francisco Pacheco, who would become his main mentor and his most direct influence during the first years of his life.

Francisco Pacheco was a great humanist who, better known today for his writings than for his paintings, taught Velázquez his pictorial and compositional techniques and transmitted his characteristic style, although his painting would change over time and more and more away from that of his teacher, as he opened to new influences after his arrival in Madrid and his trips to Italy.

Also, not only did he become the painter’s apprentice, but he ended up being his son-in-law: in 1618, when he was just 19 years old, he married Juana Pacheco, the painter’s eldest daughter, who was then fifteen. He would remain with her for the rest of his life, as both spouses died the same year and from that link were born his two legitimate daughters, Francisca and Ignacia.

As far as is known, this was a marriage of convenience; it was very common that the characters linked to the same trade were united by family ties to protect their interests and the painters’ guild was no stranger to this practice. With this link, Velázquez ensured the protection of his former teacher, whose experience and influences could provide great benefits, especially in his early years as an independent painter.

In fact, it was the contacts of his father-in-law who gave Velázquez the opportunity to travel to Madrid and to be presented in court, thanks to which he was subsequently called to portray the young king Felipe IV.

The monarch was so satisfied with his good work that, in 1623, he ordered that he move to Madrid with his family definitively, took him under his protection and appointed him official painter of the king.

Diego Velázquez arrives in Madrid

In the court of Madrid he ascended quickly, getting other offices that had little or nothing to do with painting, but that had much more weight in the headquarters of the Hispanic Monarchy and were much better paid, such as the sheriff of the court, help wardrobe of the king, camera assistant and superintendent of works, among other responsibilities, which moved him away from his painting workshop.

In addition to these charges, which evidenced his closeness to the king, Velázquez had the opportunity to increase his training, especially with the study of the well-nourished Royal Collections of painting and sculpture and with his two trips to Italy, during which he also made the sometimes sent from the king to get important paintings, sculptures and furniture in his name.

It was precisely during his second trip to Italy, already more mature and enjoying enormous fame throughout Europe, when Velázquez would enjoy personal freedom that the responsibilities and etiquette of the Madrid court, as well as the presence of his wife and Constant demands of his king, did not allow him to enjoy at the headquarters of the Hispanic Monarchy.

There he would have several lovers, but it is known that Velázquez felt an enormous passion for a particular, with whom he had a son that he publicly recognized as his.

Some have identified this woman as the painter Flaminia Triva or Trivia, sister and assistant of the Italian painter Antonio Domenico Triva and, likewise, many consider that the woman who is reflected in her famous painting “The Venus of the Mirror”, was this lover by the one that Velázquez lost his head in his maturity, at the same time that the Cupid that accompanied her would be that son he had with her.

He was so eager to continue by his side that Velázquez repeatedly ignored the king’s urgent requests to end his trip and return to Madrid, risking his excuses to awaken the monarch’s wrath and lose everything he had fought all his life for get.

However, in 1651 Velázquez could not delay his return any longer; leaving in Italy his lover and his son, whom he would not see again, he returned to the court of Madrid to continue fulfilling his responsibilities with Felipe IV.

The last years in the life of Diego Velázquez

He spent the last years of his life in court, making portraits of the king, Queen Mariana of Austria and his children, being the period in which he made some of his most outstanding masterpieces, such as “Las Meninas” or “Las Hilanderas “

On a personal level, he dedicated himself to trying to secure the future of his daughter Francisca, who had married, as Velázquez himself once did, with his father’s disciple, Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo.

He was giving more and more importance in his workshop and gave him more and more commissions and responsibilities, with the goal that he became his successor not only in the pictorial field, but also in court when he was missing .

But, despite his help, the work the painter had to face was growing and in 1660 he had to accompany the king to the French border, where he was going to give his daughter María Teresa in marriage to his nephew Luis XIV in the so-called Isla de los Faisanes.

Velázquez had to be in charge of supervising and having ready all the decoration that deserved such a solemn event in record time, despite his 61 years.

He fulfilled his mission but, completely exhausted, arrived in Madrid greatly weakened. Already in the capital, he fell ill and a few days later died, being followed by his wife less than fifteen days later.

However, today we don’t know where their remains are; he was buried in the church of San Juan Bautista in Madrid, which was ordered to demolish in the 19th century by Joseph I, with the painter’s grave still inside.


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Fauvism, what is its meaning?

Analysis: The Persistence of Memory. Salvador Dali

This is how Salvador Dalí painted The persistence of memory

This is how Salvador Dalí painted The persistence of memory.

Gala and Salvador Dalí ate in the garden of their house.

It was a hot afternoon and they planned to go to the movies after lunch

Watch the video:

The cheese spread along the plate until it reached its edge.

That vision gave him the idea he was looking for, about the painting he was painting and that would end up being The Persistence of Memory. (MoMA) Museum of Modern Art in New York. In a few hours he would finish his work, he already had melting clocks in his imagination.

Soft watches are presented in different states of transformation

Clocks, time, can be melted. To stretch. Dalí had been impressed with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity

Time is doubled by gravity.

Some critics have pointed out that the persistence of memory is a metaphor for death.

The unknown creature and on which a clock melts, is a cartoon by Dalí. In the painting ‘The great masturbator’ (1929), a similar drawing is seen

The landscape we see in the background, that great cliff, belongs to Port Lligat

Dalí felt dislike of the ants, which in this picture appear on the clock on the left.

Ants for Salvador Dalí were synonymous with putrefaction.