Vincent van Gogh and The Fauvist Movement

The Fauvist Style of Art

Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most celebrated artists of all time. Although he only sold one painting during his lifetime, his fauvist style art paved the way for what is now contemporary art.

Vincent van Gogh and The Fauvist Movement

Born in a family of six children, Van Gogh was a child who never showed any inclination towards art. In 1869, he became an apprentice at the international art dealers Goupil & Cie1. Sometime later; he was transferred to the London branch of the company. However, Van Gogh became depressed and decided to join the clergy. It was during his service to God that he decided to pursue art.

Van Gogh was dedicated to articulating the inner spirituality of man. His artistic style included a fusion of style and content that was a deviation of the traditional methods of perception. His canvas expressed bold, vibrant colors destructively designed with undisguised brushstrokes. Van Gogh’s self-destructive talent allowed the artist to express his subjective emotions along with his deep psychological reflection and resonance. He is celebrated for his works, such as the Starry Night painting, The Potato Eaters (1885) and The Courtesan (1887).

Van Gogh is one of the artists who inspired the Fauvist movement. The Fauvist (“wild beasts”) was a loose group of French painters who emphasized the use of strong colors as a means for describing light and space. The movement started in 1899 and ended in 1908. The group re-defined pure color as a means of communicating the pure state of an artist2. Fauvism is a key precursor to contemporary wall arts such as Cubism and Expressionism.

The Fauvist movement was led by Henri Matisse. Their paintings were characterized by wild brushwork, seemingly loud color, while their subject portrayed a high level of simplification and abstraction. This Fauvist style art became identified as an extreme advancement of Van Gogh’s Post-impressionism combined with the pointillism of the Seurat.

Contemporary Art Inspired by Fauvism

The fauvist movement continues to be an inspiration to modern artists. For instance, John Nieto, a contemporary American Indian artist, paints Native American inspired art in a fauvist, contemporary style. Nieto uses intense primary colors that are applied boldly onto the canvas to give dimension and character. Fauvism is an art that valued individual expression. This art style prioritizes the artist’s direct experience, their emotional response to nature and intuition. This is what Nieto prioritizes in his contemporary wall art as he seeks to shed light on the culture of the Native American people. Visit his Virtual Gallery to be inspired by some of his favorite work.