Definition of Fauvism in US English:


(also fauvism)


  • A style of painting with vivid expressionistic and nonnaturalistic use of color that flourished in Paris from 1905 and, although short-lived, had an important influence on subsequent artists, especially the German expressionists. Matisse was regarded as the movement's leading figure.

    • ‘In this respect, visually speaking, the film will be slightly reminiscent of fauvism.’
    • ‘His style reminds somewhat of French fauvism or German expressionism.’
    • ‘With that picture, painted in his sixty-fifth year, he reverts, this time with success, to the fauvism with which he began.’
    • ‘Pre-Columbian art's contribution to modernism fails to fit into the teleologically reconstructed development from post-impressionism, fauvism, and cubism to abstract expressionism.’
    • ‘He responded to some extent to post-impressionism and symbolism, but he disappointed critics who were coming to terms with cubism, fauvism, surrealism, and abstraction, which he despised.’


French fauvisme, from fauve ‘wild beast’. The name originated from a remark of the French art critic Louis Vauxcelles at the Salon of 1905; coming across a quattrocento-style statue in the midst of works by Matisse and his associates, he is reputed to have said, ‘Donatello au milieu des fauves!’ (‘Donatello among the wild beasts’).