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Fauves, French for “wild beasts” was a title given to artists who took to this style of painting because they used intense colors in an aggressive and unbridled way. It flourished in France around the turn of the 20th century, and ascribed a new role to color in art. Influenced by post-impressionist artists such as Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and Georges Seurat, famed artist Henri Matisse sought to introduce a new picture space defined by the movement of color. Color performed a symbolic role that could visually translate different emotions and in turn create feelings. The other major fauvists were Andre Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck. Some artists from Le Havre, France who were influenced by this wave were Othon Friesz, Raoul Dufy and Georges Braque.

Jamini Roy, Chittoprosad Bhattacharya’s emphasis on vibrant and intense colors made fauvism prominent in Bengal before independence. In the recent past, artists like Devajyoti Ray have again brought fauvism to life.

Henri Matisse, The Girl with the Green Eyes, 1908, oil painting.