Monday, February 05, 2007

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO DERAIN AND VLAMINCK?

Here they are: Derain's portrait of Vlaminck (above, left) and Vlaminck's portrait of Derain (above, right). They were at the top of their form at the start of the fauve period in, say, 1905 and by 1910 they were passe'. What happened?



Here (above) is a Derain from 1905. it's full of verve and vitality.

Here (above) is a Derain from 1909. It's OK but what a come-down! What happened? Maybe the answer is that he bought a house in the country and fatally removed himself from the influence of his friends in the city. Or maybe he acquired depressing friends out there in the country. He hung out with German friends in this period and maybe they didn't understand color the way the French did.
Here (above) is a Vlaminck from 1905. Minimal shadows, unreal color on the tree trunks, color used to contain space...it's a really wonderfull example of the fauve style.



Here (above) is a Vlaminck from the 1920's. It's OK but the painter clearly wasn't interested in experimenting anymore. What happened? Why the precipitous decline? Historians speculate that he was demoralized by his association with Picasso. Apparently Derain felt old-fashioned in the presence of Picasso's Cubist rebellion and in 1907 he destroyed his fauve paintings when he moved to a new studio. Imagine that; fauvism starts in 1905 and one of the leading practitioners feels passe' by 1907. That's how fast things were changing in those days.
Here are photo portraits of Derain (above) and Vlaminck (below). Neither had to desert fauvism. The movement still had a lot of vitality as we know from Matisse's work. Matisse stood up to Picasso and matched him, innovation for innovation. What a pity that Derain and Vlaminck chose to capitulate rather than fight.










18 comments:

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Oops! I meant to say that VLAMINCK felt old-fashioned in the presence of Cubism!

Anonymous said...

Derain is my great grandfather!

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Anon: Do you mean that? Don't you mean he looks like your great grandfather?

Mad Taylor said...

Neat Eddie. From the examples both painters appear to have gone very dark when they were feeling defeated, a big 180 spin from the earlier work. Sort of sad what the wear and tear of change can have on an artist. These days a lot of things that are praised genius works could make an artist just give up.

http://members.aol.com/yipeye/3color.htm

Sean Worsham said...

Conformity Kills.

Max Ward said...

I don't really like these paintings. I can appreciate the experimenting they were doing, but the paintings are still ugly to me.

Max Ward said...

Maybe I am just a boring and bland old man.

William said...

They're fine, but Fauve-ism is a great example of spontaneous art. That is to say, it is great to start out with and in its birth, but I don't think it can really go anywhere(in part due to how primary the colors and forms are). Then again that opinion could be because I was born in the 80s and a lot of shitty artists were playing with fauvism in really, really astonishingly bad ways. You might recognize it as motel lobby art.

Honestly, I really like what they did when they 'matured'/'sold out'. Expecially Valminck! I love that coloring!

Interesting post.

Keith Lango said...

Great post, Eddie. I'm curious for your opinion about a question I had while reading this:

In animation terms, who is today's Picasso and what is today's Cubism? By nature I can't see it being any of the commercially dominant forms of animation today. (TV flat style, CG, etc.) I don't believe Cubism was the dominant commercial art form of it's day, but it was one that was driving a lot of the underpinnings and influences of professional art in the early 20th century. So who plays Picasso's parallel role of influence and progressive power today that may cause some bright minded non-complying animator/artists to cave in?

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Keith: The closest thing the current art scene has to Picasso is John Kricfalusi. John is a truly massive talent who's influence is so pervasive that even artists who've never seen a John cartoon still draw somewhat like him and tell stories somewhat the way he does. Our great, great grandchildren will still be reading about him in art history class.

before John there was Crumb and Sergio Leonne and before them were the great easel painters, film directors, illustrators, animators and cartoonists.

Gabriel said...

i prefer the older stuff. And I don't like Picasso. Am I normal?

Charlie J. said...

hey Eddie,
will you do a post on cutting theory?

Anonymous said...

no hes actually my grandfather! I actually have a few paintings of his in the basement, never he realized he was that good though!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Eddie, my take on the changing styles of these fellows is that they merely thought it was going nowhere for them, and not doing anything for them, and chose something they thought might be more rewarding, either on a personal or popular level.

That is, they may have thought it childish?

I am not sure of their particular 'rank' or standing within such movements, but my feeling, knowing squat about them actually, is that they felt third rate and faddish, or either not individual, or popular enough.

Think of those with a cartoonists sense, that decide to do other things later in life, either because of their own needs, or the markets needs, as to what 'art' is. Bet you could easily clobber up a good handful of cartoonists that became Landscape painters.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Anon: I don't know if you're serious but if you are you should take those pictures to an appraiser right away.

Anonymous said...

I just took them to an art dealer and he offered me 3 thousand cash each for them up front! I was going to chuck em out before I read your blog lol

Lester Hunt said...

Wonderful post, Eddie! As usual, I learned a lot. My own view is that the greatest era in the history of the fine arts was the one that came to a crashing, bloody end with World War I. Fauvism was a colorful and vital, if short-lived, part of that miraculous phenomenon.

NateBear said...

Such talented pussies. That's like the Beatles trying to do disco.