André Derain (1880 – 1954) was a French artist, painter, sculptor and co-founder of Fauvism with Henri Matisse whom he first met in 1898 while studying painting.

In 1904 he attended the Academie Julian, he worked with Matisse and their paintings due to the vivid, unnatural colors, were categorized as les Fauves, or “the wild beasts”, marking the start of the Fauvist movement.

Derain painted landscapes and figure studies in brilliant, sometimes pure colours and used broken brushstrokes and impulsive lines to define his spontaneous compositions.

In 1908, he moved in Montmartre and was influenced by the Cubism and Paul Cezanne. Until 1911 the role of color was reduced, the forms became austere and these years were characterized as his gothic period.

After the war, Derain was considered as a leader of the renewed classicism with his paintings of nudes, still lifes, and portraits. After the 1920s, his more conservative style brought him financial success.

Derain worked also as a decorator, theatrical designer and book illustrator.

During the German occupation of France in World War II, he traveled with other French artists to Berlin to attend a Nazi art exhibition. His presence in Germany was used effectively by Nazi propaganda and after the Liberation he was ostracized as a collaborator.

Source: The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Australia.