Henri Matisse is the best known of this colorful, innovative group of painters.

c. 1905–1910 C.E.

Beginner's guide

Fauvism, developed in France, became the first new artistic style of the 20th century.

videos + essays

We're adding new content all the time!

Fauve Landscapes and City Views
Fauve Landscapes and City Views

The Fauves created paintings that seem to celebrate the pleasures of painting as much as the pleasures of life.

Henri Matisse, <em>Open Window, Collioure</em>
Henri Matisse, Open Window, Collioure

Although the style implies a rapid or even slipshod painting process, Open Window, Collioure was carefully orchestrated in every aspect.

Henri Matisse, the illustrated book <em>Jazz</em>
Henri Matisse, the illustrated book Jazz

At first glance this looks like a series of cheerful circus images, but upon further inspection, it’s much darker.

Henri Matisse, <em>The Blue Window</em>
Henri Matisse, The Blue Window

When Matisse painted this, all the cool kids were into cubist geometry—and Matisse was definitely cool.

Henri Matisse, <em>Luxe, calme et volupté</em>
Henri Matisse, Luxe, calme et volupté

Matisse borrows brushwork technique from his pal Signac—but don’t call him a Pointillist just yet.

Henri Matisse, <em>The Piano Lesson</em>
Henri Matisse, The Piano Lesson

Here, Matisse commits the cardinal parenting sin of conflating his own childhood experiences with those of his son.

Henri Matisse, <em>Goldfish</em>
Henri Matisse, Goldfish

To say that Matisse “had a thing for goldfish” would be kind of an understatement.

Henri Matisse, <em>The Red Studio</em>
Henri Matisse, The Red Studio

In this painting of the artist’s studio, it’s Matisse vs. the illusion of space in a bloody battle royale.

Henri Matisse, <em>Dance I</em>
Henri Matisse, Dance I

You know that painting from third grade your mom won’t take off the fridge? This is different. Mostly.

Henri Matisse, <em>Bonheur de Vivre</em>
Henri Matisse, Bonheur de Vivre

Though its languid poses reference Titian, this was regarded as the most radical painting of its day.

Fauvism, an introduction
Fauvism, an introduction

The joyful, vivid, sensual paintings of the “wild beasts” had a dark side.

Selected Contributors