Vertigo of Color: Matisse, Derain, and the Origins of Fauvism

Metropolitan Museum of Art. Oct. 2023. 192p. ISBN 9781588397652. $50. FINE ARTS
Accompanying an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, this book focuses on the artistic production of early 20th-century French artists Henri Matisse and André Derain during the summer of 1905 when they worked together in the southern French seaside town of Collioure. While in Collioure, Matisse and Derain experimented with a pictorial language of color and form that would become the basis for the first influential art style of the 20th century, Fauvism. The working processes of both artists are explored, with Matisse using this time to create works that were more preparatory than those of Derain, who produced more finished paintings. Both artists worked in the then-radical painting style of applying free brushstrokes of vibrant color to express pure sensations. With a discussion of the art exhibition at Salon d’Automne of 1905, where Matisse and Derain showed works created that summer, it is clear that the attention and notoriety from the salon contributed to their future success as well as to that of other Fauve artists. Including letters from this period written between Matisse, Derain, and other artists contributes to the book’s historical authenticity.
VERDICT This informative title is recommended for readers interested in the avant-garde art movements of the 20th century.
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