Provence, a small region in the south of France bordering the Mediterranean Sea, has attracted the greatest masters of French painting since the mid-19th century. Van Gogh, Cézanne, Derain, Matisse successively laid their easel there, to understand and grasp all the subtleties of the light of these splendid sunny landscapes.

Since then, a true identity of the l’École Provençale (Provençal school) was gradually built, always based around bright fauvian colors laid in thick pictorial material.
This exhibition aims to present works by painters belonging to this period, forever inscribed in the history of the art of modern French painting.

The paintings presented here mainly focused on the period from the early 1900 to the 1970s, though there are also several from the mid to late 1800s. You will find much sought after artists such as Yves Brayer, Gabriel Couderc, Alfred Persia, Joseph Hurard, Adolphe Gaussen, Augustin Carrera, Vincent Manago, Yvon Grac and many other renowned names.

Many of the paintings retain their original frames.

The Fauvist style

Fauvism is a French Avant-guard art movement started by a group of loosely associated early 20th-century modern artists who sought to bring personal expression into their paintings.  Works emphasized strong colour and the artists’ own emotion and expression over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism artists.  Founders of this movement were Henri Matisse and André Derain.

Fauve is French for ‘wild beasts,’ a name which stuck among the critics who viewed their work (Les Fauves). Fauvism was inspired by Post-Impressionism, a 19th-century movement back toward form in painting, and away from the optical realism created by Impressionism. It was Fauvism that led the charge toward well-known 20th-century painting styles, such as Cubism and Expressionism

One of the greatest inspirations for the Fauvists was the Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) who believed colour could be used to translate emotions beyond words and into objects in paintings.  Other influences on Fauvism include Post-Impressionist artists Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne.

“Imagine trees that don’t have to be green and brown, people who are blue and green, and red skies in paintings.” All of these ideas, which express the feelings of the artist through a somewhat irrational use of color, create the Fauvist style.

The principles of Fauvism include:

  • A radical use of unnatural colours that separated colour from its usual representational and realistic role, giving new, emotional meaning to the colours
  • Creating a strong, unified work that appears flat on the canvas
  • Showing the individual expressions and emotions of the painter instead of creating paintings based on theories of what paintings should look like with objects represented as they appear in nature
  • Bold brush strokes using paint straight from the tube instead of preparing and mixing it