André Derain

André Derain
10.06.1880 (Chatou, France) - 08.09.1954 (Garches, France)

Nationality: French


André Derain is one of the founders of the Fauve Movement. He was born in 1880 in Chatou, an artist's colony outside of Paris. Originally, Derain intended to become an engineer. However, he enrolled at the Academie Camillo under Eugène Carrière in Paris in 1898, where he met Henri Matisse. After a compulsory military service from 1900-1904, Derain convinced his parents to allow him to quit his engineering studies and continue studying to become a painter.

Derain exhibited his work at the Salon des Indépendants and at the Salon d'Automne with Matisse, De Vlaminck and others, inadvertently initiating the Fauvist movement. Derain and Matisse worked together in the summer of 1905 in Collioure, France. Later that same year they displayed their innovative paintings at the Salon d'Automne. The vivid, unnatural colors in the paintings led one critic to dub their works 'les Fauves' or 'wild beasts'. The group of artists embraced the negative term and Fauvism was born. 

After the war, with the progressive years of Fauvism behind him, Derain became known as a traditionalist. During a trip to Italy he was introduced to - and impressed by - the art of High Renaissance, as well as Fayum portraits and Roman mosaics in Pompeii. Derain became recognized as a leader of the renewed classicism movement.  In the early 1920's he designed the set and costumes for the ballet La Boutique fantasque for Diaghilev of the Ballets Russes. This was the beginning of many ballet sets and costumes that Derain would design.

During World War II, Derain stayed in Paris throughout most of the occupation, where he was favored by the Nazi's because of his supposed artistic integrity. The German Foreign Minister commissioned him to paint a family portrait of Hitler, but he refused. In his old age, Derain lost most of his eyesight. He died in 1954, a few days after being hit by a truck.

The 1920's are considered the height of Derain’s success. He was awarded the Carnegie Prize in 1928 and began to exhibit extensively abroad: in London, Berlin, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, New York, and Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1935, the Berne Kunsthalle organized the first major retrospective of his art, and in 1937 Derain participated in a retrospective exhibition of the 'Independants' in Paris. More recently, in 2006, his oeuvre was honored with a large retrospective at the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris. Today, paintings by Derain sell for more than 20 million USD and his work is to be found in museum collections all over the world, such as the MOMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Tate Modern in London, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and Musée d'Orsay in Paris.


M. Jonkman, E. Geudeker, Mythen van het atelier. Werkplaats en schilderpraktijk van de negentiende-eeuwse Nederlandse kunstenaar, Zwolle 2010, p. 201;
H.M. Smeets, 'Who painted whom?', Artnews, October 2006, p. 128-129;
R. Labrusse and J. Munck, 'André Derain in London (1906-07): letters and a sketchbook',Burlington Magazine 146 (April 2004), p. 243-260;
G. Maldonado, 'Le Faubourg de Collioure d'Andre Derain', Connaissance des Arts, no. 606 (2003), p. 90-93; 
J. van Adrichem, De ontvangst van de moderne kunst in Nederland 1910-2000. Picasso als pars pro toto, Amsterdam 2001, p. 30;
M. Kellermann, André Derain, Catalogue raisonné, Paris 1996;
A. Pingeot et al., La Sculpture Française au XIXe Siècle, Paris 1986, p. 124;
Catalogue of costumes and curtains from Diaghilev and de Basil Ballets, London (Sotheby & Co.), 17 July 1968.


Selection of collections with work by André Derain:
Hermitage Museum. St. Petersburg, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Musée d'Orsay, Paris, Museum of Fine Art, Houston (Texas), Museum of Fine Art, Boston, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland, Tate Gallery, London.

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