The Easel

26th September 2023

The avant-garde artists who went wild in Paris

In the aftermath of Van Gogh, Gauguin and Seurat, some Paris artists developed a radical idea. Rather than using colours that match reality, why not choose colours for their “expressive value”? Explorations of this idea included Matisse painting a beach with red sand. The artists who gravitated to the idea – the “fauves” – had coalesced by 1904. But their “all-out assault on the senses” barely made it to 1908.  Said Braque “you can’t remain in a state of paroxysm forever”.