Arts & Entertainment

Guide to Fauvism: History, Characteristics, and Artists

Written by the MasterClass staff

Last updated: Feb 25, 2022 • 4 min read

In 1905, the art critic Louis Vauxcelles walked into a room at the Salon d’Automne in Paris and was confronted by several paintings by the artists Henri Matisse, André Derain, and Maurice de Vlaminck. The Salon d’Automne was an exhibition organized by these artists and their peers as a response to the conservative policies and traditional aesthetics of the official Salon exhibition. Looking around him, Vauxcelles infamously exclaimed that being in a room with these paintings was like sharing a space with “les fauves,” or “wild beasts.” From then on, this group of artists was known as the Fauves.