André Derain (1880-1954) was a French artist born to an upper middle class French family that hailed from the outskirts of Paris. He went to school to be an engineer, but later met Matisse and became an artist instead. Matisse convinced Derain’s parents to let him leave engineering school to attend an art academy. Afterward, Derain became friends with Vlaminck and they worked together. After spending time in Coillure with Matisse, Derain was commissioned by an art dealer to go to London and literally paint the town. Following are two of his famous London paintings.
Derain is most known for his Fauvist paintings. The Fauves or les Fauves (the wild beasts) were a group of artists that painted in an unrealistic manner using very bold colors. Their style was a response to the Impressionists. In the early 1900’s, another art dealer purchased Derain’s entire studio, giving the artist some financial freedom. Derain moved to Montmartre where he hung with Picasso’s group of friends including Fernande Olivier, Max Jacob, and Apollinaire.
Derain’s style started to change just before World War I. His style was reflective of his studies of the old masters and his colors became more subdued and his paintings were more classical. He served in the war and survived. During World War II he remained in Paris and was befriended by the Nazis due to his cultural status. He even visited Germany in 1941, angering many.
—Denise And Claire Levy, 1949, oil on canvas, Musée d’Art Moderne, Troyes
Derain was suffering from an eye infection when he was stuck by a car and killed in 1954.