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Joan Miró and Abstract Artworks

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Joan Miró and Abstract Artworks

Joan Miró i Ferrà (April 20,1893 – December 25,1983) was a world renowned Spanish Catalan painter, sculptor, and ceramist who was born in the sea port city of Barcelona.

Miro was the son of a watchmaking father and a goldsmith mother, he was exposed to the arts from a very young age. There have been some drwaings recovered by Miro dating to 1901, when he was only 8 years old. Miro enrolled at the School of Industrial and Fine Arts in Barcelona until 1910; during his attendance he was taught by Modest Urgell and Josep Pascó.

After overcoming a serious bout of typhoid fever in 1911, Miro decided to devote his life entirely to painting by attending the school of art taught by Francesc Galí. He studied at La Lonja School of Fine Arts in Barcelona, and in 1918 set up his first individual exhibition in the Dalmau Galleries, in the same city. His works before 1920 (the date of his first trip to Paris) reflect the influence of different trends, like the pure and brilliant colors used in Fauvism, shapes taken from cubism, influences from folkloric Catalan art and Roman frescos from the churches.

His trip to Paris introduced him to and developed his trend of surrealist painting. In 1921, he showed his first individual exhibition in Paris, at La Licorne Gallery. In 1928, he exhibited with a group of surrealists in the Pierre Gallery, also in Paris, although Miró was always to maintain his independent qualities with respect to groups and ideologies.

From 1929-1930, Miró began to take interest in the object as such, in the form of collages. This was a practice which was to lead to his making of surrealist sculptures. His tormented monsters appeared during this decade, which gave way to the consolidation of his plastic vocabulary. He also experimented with many other artistic forms, such as engraving, lithography, water colors, pastels, and painting over copper. What is particularly highlighted from this period, are the two ceramic murals which he made for the UNESCO building in Paris (The Wall of the Moon and the Wall of the Sun, 1957-59).

It was at the end of the 60´s when his final period was marked and which lasted until his death. During this time, he concentrated more and more on monumental and public works. He was characterized by the body language and freshness with which he carried out his canvasses, as well as the special attention he paid to material and the stamp he received from informalism. He concentrated his interest on the symbol, not giving too much importance to the representing theme, but to the way the symbol emerged as the piece of work.

In 1976 the Joan Miró Foundation Centre of Contemporary Art Study was officially opened in the city of Barcelona and in 1979, four years before his death, he was named Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Barcelona.

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Argenteuil and Impressionism

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Argenteuil and Impressionism

The outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War ( July 18, 1870) found Claude Monet at Le Havre, where he remained as that fateful summer wore on. On September 2 came the German breakthrough at Sedan; Napoleon III capitulated and on September 4 the Third Republic was proclaimed. Leaving Camille and little Jean in Normandy, Monet sailed for England in September. Bazille volunteered for the Zouaves and joined a line regiment in August (he was killed in action at Beaune-la-Rolande on November 28).

Manet, as a confirmed republican, waited for the Empire to collapse and then enlisted (as did Degas) in an artillery unit of the National Guard. Pissarro, living at Louveciennes, found himself in the path of the advancing Germans and fled to England, leaving behind hundreds of his pictures together with many that Monet had stored with him. Torn from their frames and used as floor-mats and aprons by the Prussian soldiery, who turned his house into the regimental butchershop, all were destroyed — an irreparable loss, depriving us of by far the greater part of Pissarro’s pre-1870 output and a substantial part of Monet’s. To these losses, in the case of Monet, must be added the many canvases which he himself ripped to shreds in fits of despair or to prevent their being seized by his creditors.

Things went no better for him in London than in France. The English public showed complete indifference to his work. He submitted some pictures to an exhibition at the Royal Academy, but they were rejected. He had the good luck, however, to run into Daubigny, who introduced him to his own dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, also a refugee in London, who had opened a gallery at 158 Bond Street. This meeting was providential not only for Monet but also for Pissarro, who met Durand-Ruel at the same time. “Without him we’d have starved to death in London,” he wrote later. But in spite of his enthusiasm for their work and his persistence in bringing it to public notice, Durand-Ruel failed to sell a single one of their pictures in England. He nevertheless went on buying canvases from Monet and Pissarro, and thus enabled them to keep afloat.

Monet made several views of the Thames in addition to some studies in Hyde Park in which the figures are very roughly silhouetted against a simplified landscape composed of broad, flat planes of color. Pissarro tells of their visits to the museums and how much they were impressed by the English landscape painters, by Constable and Turner in particular. Monet later denied that he had been influenced by Turner at that time, and indeed it is only in the much later series of fog effects on the Thames ( 1904) that Turner’s influence becomes apparent.

In the summer of 1871 Monet left England for Holland, where he painted some landscapes in which the mighty forms of windmills, outlined against the immensity of the sky above the canals in the foreground, are treated in a free, sparkling style very much like that of his Trouville seascapes of 1870.

Life had gone back to normal in Paris now and artists were returning to their old haunts. The group that had formed around Manet in the late sixties now formed again, but this time it centered on Monet. Even before his military service, as early as 1859, Monet had met Pissarro at the Académie Suisse; after his discharge from the army, at Gleyre’s studio in 1862, he had met Renoir, Bazille and Sisley. Monet thus formed the link between the group at Gleyre’s and the group at the Académie Suisse, where Pissarro had been joined by Cézanne and Guillaumin.

In December 1871 Monet settled at Argenteuil, on the western outskirts of Paris. After a visit to Le Havre in the spring of 1872, he left for Holland, eager to rework a vein that had proved so fruitful in the previous year. It is difficult to distinguish between the pictures made during these two stays in Holland, few of them being dated. Assignable to 1872, however, are those which foreshadow the fully developed technique of his Argenteuil period, those, in other words, in which we find a breaking-up of color into a patchwork of small brushstrokes and a new emphasis on atmospheric vibration.

In the autumn of 1872 Monet returned to Argenteuil where he lived for the next six years, with occasional expeditions to Paris, as is proved by two views of the Boulevard des Capucines in winter. He saw much of Renoir and they often worked together on the Seine banks. Monet’s first river scenes, in 1872-1873, were still built up in separate, unblended strokes and patches of color. A good example is Pleasure Boats which, enclosed in a triple frame with a Sisley and a Pissarro, forms a triptych bequeathed to the Louvre by Monsieur May.

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Claude Monet and The Water Lilies

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Claude Monet and The Water Lilies

As soon as they appeared, the Water Lilies of Claude Monet old age, those hymns to light, plant life and water, incurred the displeasure of both the well-wishers and the detractors of Impressionism. The first were baffled by Monet’s new manner; the second were blind to the new depth of vision these works revealed. Misunderstood and neglected for over thirty years, the Water Lilies are at last receiving the recognition they deserve.

Having had the privilege, from childhood up, of seeing and familiarizing myself with them in the setting at Giverny in which they were created (the only setting, let me add, that can do justice to them), it reflects no particular credit on me to say that personally I have never shared that incomprehension. To see the Water Lilies in the garden studio especially built to house them was to see them in natural, harmonious conjunction with radiant summer days spent in the garden at Giverny beside the pond which inspired them. It was a delight which those who experienced it will never forget.

I cannot deny that, for me at least, the spell is irremediably broken in the Musée de l’Orangerie, in that bleak back room which, designed especially for the Water Lilies in 1925, nevertheless baldly reduces them to a mural decoration — and they are ever so much more than that. The way in which they are encased there, in a long horizontal belt around the concave wall, restricts them to the narrow, perfectly extraneous function of emphasizing the ellipsoidal line of the architecture.

Monet himself contributed to this over-modest setting by approving the whole project at the time and by doing his utmost to adapt his panels to it. To break and diversify the even horizontal flow of the paintings around the room, he sprinkled the foreground with willow fronds suggestive of the decorative style of art nouveau, fashionable around 1900. At the same time they introduce a third dimension which strikes an uncalled-for contrast with the sheer vertical plane of the water surface; the latter, with its rich play of light effects, was theme enough in itself.

The setting, then, in which the Water Lilies have been exhibited to the public in part explains both the eclipse they underwent for over a quarter of a century and the keen revival of interest in them caused by the recent revelation of further Water Lilies hitherto hidden from view in the studio at Giverny. The evolution of taste and ideas in the course of the past halfcentury explains the rest.

This evolution, as far as painting is concerned, began with the dissensions that led to the break-up of the impressionist movement in the eighties. While Monet went on, singlemindedly pursuing the subtlest, most elusive effects and variations of light and atmosphere, Pissarro, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin each branched out in different directions. The Neo-Impressionism of Seurat, with which Pissarro threw in his lot in 1886, was both a logical development of Impressionism and a reaction against it. The systematic, scientific application of the principles which Monet discovered and applied by trial and error signified in effect a tacit condemnation of the intuitive, empirical nature of his art.

As for Renoir, after an uneasy interlude in which he toyed with a harshly linear, Ingresque style, he finally reconciled his concern for form with his love of light, fusing both in an inimitable glorification of volume saturated with color. Cézanne, however, always deferring to his “sensations,” gradually exacted from them not an atmospheric so much as a geological revelation of the visible world. After a fling at Neo-Impressionism, whose narrow harness failed to hold him long in check, Van Gogh hit his stride at Arles, throwing off every constraint in a jubilant, preexpressionist exaltation of color and line. But it was the symbolism of Gauguin which worked the most radical transformation of Impressionism. Gauguin sacrificed the visual aspect of things to the expression, in terms of line and color, of the “idea” they engendered in the mind. He rejected outright the whole battery of naturalistic effects calculated to suggest space and light, and adopted flat colors and heavy contour lines.

The upshot of these powerfully diverging currents was Fauvism, which abandoned every semblance of fidelity to outward appearances in favor of a rapturous glorification of color — but color handled more plastically than it was by the slightly later followers of Van Gogh, with their bias toward expressionist distortion. In spite of this reaction, however, Fauvism and Expressionism remained, like Impressionism, essentially dependent on the sensation induced by the object.

This was no longer true of Cubism, which rejected the outer world as it appears to our senses and built up another one out of a select assortment of elements artificially reassembled in the mind. This essentially cerebral art stood at the opposite pole from the essentially sensuous art of Impressionism. No wonder then that the meat of the one was the poison of the other. The rise of Cubism and the era that followed, during which its influence spread and was assimilated, set up a reaction against Impressionism, whose achievement was belittled and whose most characteristic representative, Claude Monet, was disregarded by a whole generation of artists.

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Picasso Art: Sympathy with the Poor Isidro Nonell

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Tete d’une Femme Lisant by Pablo Picasso

In Barcelona there were already signs of the fierce and humanitarian Picasso, who was later roused to paint ‘Guernica’ and ‘War and Peace’ and to declare: ‘Painting is not done to decorate houses. It is an instrument of war for attack and defence against the enemy.’ His old Catalan friends say that he was an anarchist at this time, and his rather primitive drawing of an anarchist meeting was probably sketched from direct observation. The members of the group who met in ‘Els Quatre Gats’ had the same sympathies and wore trousers narrowing at the ankles, copied from those of anarchist agitators.

From 1895 onwards an anarchist journal, Ciencia Social, published, amongst other things, cartoons of Daumier and works by Millet and Courbet, and Joventut too, nearly always began with a long article on political and regional grievances. The works of Bakunin were well-known and Joventut carried advertisements for those of Kropotkin. The achievements of the Modernists took place against a background not only of bombs but of suppression. All the works of Maeterlinck and d’Annunzio were condemned by the Church, and Hauptmann Die Weber was banned from the stage because the workmen in it broke up a factory. Picasso and his friends may well have known the printed version of the play, with illustrations by Käthe Kollwitz.

Picasso had studios in the same building, and more than once Picasso drew Nonell’s portrait. Their influence on each other may have been mutual. There are works of Nonell from 1902 onwards which seem to derive from Picasso, but in earlier years Nonell was probably the originator. His ‘Grupo de Pobres’, dated 1899, with its miserable figures huddled in profile along the corner of a building, looks back to Goya and Daumier and forward to Picasso’s hunched, seated figures of 1902.

His solitary figure of 1901-2 (published in Pel i Ploma in January 1902) resemble those of Picasso’s Blue Period in motive, composition and the use of heavy, limp folds of drapery and are roughly contemporary with them, for though Picasso’s Blue Period began in Paris in late 1901, the most characteristic and the most Nonellian works of this phase were painted later, and this is especially true of his paintings of beggars sitting on the ground. The works done in Paris in late 1901 are mostly of people with their elbows on a café table, like ‘Le Bock’, or portraits, or the ‘Maternités’ which owe so much to Maurice Denis and Carrière.

Such works as ‘La Femme assise au Capuchon!, painted after Picasso’s return to Barcelona, seem to derive in part at least from Nonell’s early work. That this fact has not been more usually recognised may be due to a coolness which, according to some writers, later sprang up between Picasso and Nonell, but their relation must have been close, since Nonell at one time chose to live in the bateau-lavoir where Picasso was already settled.

In the motives both for Nonell’s crucial visit to Bohí and in many of the contributions to Arte Joven, the cult of the primitive was mixed with sympathy for peasants and the poor. Primitivism was an international taste, rooted in English romanticism, in the writings of Rousseau, and in the doctrines of David’s pupils, who called themselves les Primitifs. It was a revulsion against civilisation, stimulated in the second half of the nineteenth century by a growing dislike of industrialism and a feeling that men had not always so recklessly squandered their lives in pursuit of the means of life. It was the motive behind the mediaevalism of William Morris and Gauguin’s move to Tahiti; it finds a voice in Van Gogh’s letters; and earlier it had led Courbet’s friend Champfleury to collect popular songs and broadsheets and to write, ‘The idol cut on a tree-trunk by savages is nearer to Michelangelo’s “Moses” than most of the statues in the annual Salons’.

In Barcelona it particularly took the form of reviving old and popular Catalan music, which culminated in the foundation of the Orfeó Català and in the works of Morera. A common saying of the time was, ‘The songs of the people are the songs of God’. The old tales of the countryside also attracted attention and affected such works as Senties’s story of the Mad Woman illustrated by Picasso. The puppet shows held in ‘Els Quatre Gats’, though ostensibly designed to attract children, seem to have been taken very seriously by the regular customers, and the puppet was praised in Rousseau-like terms as ‘man denuded of all conventions, with all the good instincts of a new-born animal’.

Picasso Arte Joven shared this love of the child-like and primitive. One of the sonnets by Miguel de Unamuno selected for the first number begins: ‘I return to thee my childhood, as Antaeus returned to earth to regain his strength’. In an item called ‘Our Aesthetic’ the quotation chosen from Goethe is: ‘The true poet receives his knowledge of the world from nature, and to depict it he does not need great experience or great technique’.

Already a writer on architecture had declared in Barcelona that learning and experience are less vital than spontaneity and instinct, and this feeling, no doubt, played a part in the current revival of Catalan Romanesque and Gothic art. All this is certainly important for opening the way to Negro sculpture in Picasso’s mind, and it may also have some bearing on the fact that there are at least sixteen works of 1901 by Picasso in which children figure, including the well-known ‘L’Enfant au. Pigeon’, ‘Le Gourmand’ and the somewhat primitive ‘La Soupe’.

Picasso’s social ideas can best be illustrated from Arte Joven, the short-lived magazine of which he was joint-editor in Madrid in early 1901, since he probably had more influence on its contents than he had had on any publication in Barcelona. It is significant that the only paper over which he had control should be one with social and political leanings. The editors of Arte Joven adopted a tone of defiance. ‘We know that the gilded youth of Madrid and the illustrious ladies of the aristocracy do not like Arte Joven! That pleases us immensely.’

The first number showed a group of peasants, marching heavily under the weight of their misery. There was also a somewhat ‘extreme’ article which asserted that men should abstain from voting since it only fortifies the injustice of the state. The great necessity is ‘to kill the law’, a concept which must already have been familiar to Picasso in the moral field from such poems as Bridgman Cry of the Virgins which he had already illustrated. Arte Joven also published a poem by Alberto Lozano condemning the rich and idle, the sense of which was, ‘If you do not work and fulfil God’s command to Adam you are not my brother or God’s son’. There were also the inevitable articles on Nietzsche. It was characteristic of Picasso’s feeling for social outlaws that, soon after his visit to Madrid, he did a Munch-like drawing of a man resembling himself handcuffed between two gendarmes.

Probably the first Spanish painter of the time to show the poor with realism and compassion, rather than as the stock, picturesque beggars of traditional genre, was Isidro Nonell (1873-1911). Some time just before 1900 he lent his studio to Picasso, who was eight years younger, and it is almost certain that his works influenced the paintings of the Blue Period in both style and content. Nonell, the son of a man who made pasta for soup, began as a plein-air painter, but soon reacted both from Impressionism and from what was called ‘la sweetness inglés’ (presumably the Pre-Raphaelite sentimentality of Brull and de Riquer).

In 1896 he went to Bohí, in the Pyrenees, and made studies of the Crétins living there, which he worked up into paintings later shown in the Salon of La Vanguardia in Paris and in ‘Els Quatre Gats’. Nonell made use here of expressive deformations and the simplified closed silhouette which is so often employed by Picasso in his Blue Period. His contour lines are heavy and dramatic; there are strong reminiscences of Japanese prints and of Daumier, whose work he could have seen in the pages of Gil Blas. The woman huddled over her baby is a kind of caricature without malice. It was, of course, not till much later that Picasso turned to this kind of theme. At this time, when he was only fifteen, he confined himself almost entirely to depicting his family or street and café scenes, and was about to go to Madrid where he made copies in the Prado.

In 1897 Nonell went to Paris, held an exhibition at the Le Barc de Bouteville Gallery, and was compared by enthusiastic critics to Edgar Allan Poe. Judging by his later works he must also have studied the art of Van Gogh and Daumier. On his return to Barcelona he made some impressive drawings of the miserable people repatriated after the Cuban War, one of which, a dragging line of figures, is reminiscent of Van Gogh’s ‘Prison Yard’. About this time Nonell and Picasso had studios in the same building, and more than once Picasso drew Nonell’s portrait. Their influence on each other may have been mutual.

There are works of Nonell from 1902 onwards which seem to derive from Picasso, but in earlier years Nonell was probably the originator. His ‘Grupo de Pobres’, dated 1899, with its miserable figures huddled in profile along the corner of a building, looks back to Goya and Daumier and forward to Picasso’s hunched, seated figures of 1902. His solitary figure of 1901-2, published in Pel i Ploma in January 1902) resemble those of Picasso’s Blue Period in motive, composition and the use of heavy, limp folds of drapery and are roughly contemporary with them, for though Picasso’s Blue Period began in Paris in late 1901, the most characteristic and the most Nonellian works of this phase were painted later, and this is especially true of his paintings of beggars sitting on the ground.

The works done in Paris in late 1901 are mostly of people with their elbows on a café table, like ‘Le Bock’, or portraits, or the ‘Maternités’ which owe so much to Maurice Denis and Carrière. Such works as ‘La Femme assise au Capuchon!, painted after Picasso’s return to Barcelona, seem to derive in part at least from Nonell’s early work. That this fact has not been more usually recognised may be due to a coolness which, according to some writers, later sprang up between Picasso and Nonell, but their relation must have been close, since Nonell at one time chose to live in the bateau-lavoir where Picasso was already settled.

In the motives both for Nonell’s crucial visit to Bohí and in many of the contributions to Arte Joven, the cult of the primitive was mixed with sympathy for peasants and the poor. Primitivism was an international taste, rooted in English romanticism, in the writings of Rousseau, and in the doctrines of David’s pupils, who called themselves les Primitifs. It was a revulsion against civilisation, stimulated in the second half of the nineteenth century by a growing dislike of industrialism and a feeling that men had not always so recklessly squandered their lives in pursuit of the means of life.

It was the motive behind the mediaevalism of William Morris and Gauguin’s move to Tahiti; it finds a voice in Van Gogh’s letters; and earlier it had led Courbet’s friend Champfleury to collect popular songs and broadsheets and to write, ‘The idol cut on a tree-trunk by savages is nearer to Michelangelo’s “Moses” than most of the statues in the annual Salons’. In Barcelona it particularly took the form of reviving old and popular Catalan music, which culminated in the foundation of the Orfeó Català and in the works of Morera.

A common saying of the time was, ‘The songs of the people are the songs of God’. The old tales of the countryside also attracted attention and affected such works as Senties’s story of the Mad Woman illustrated by Picasso. The puppet shows held in ‘Els Quatre Gats’, though ostensibly designed to attract children, seem to have been taken very seriously by the regular customers, and the puppet was praised in Rousseau-like terms as ‘man denuded of all conventions, with all the good instincts of a new-born animal’.

Picasso Arte Joven shared this love of the child-like and primitive. One of the sonnets by Miguel de Unamuno selected for the first number begins: ‘I return to thee my childhood, as Antaeus returned to earth to regain his strength’. In an item called ‘Our Aesthetic’ the quotation chosen from Goethe is: ‘The true poet receives his knowledge of the world from nature, and to depict it he does not need great experience or great technique’.

Already a writer on architecture had declared in Barcelona that learning and experience are less vital than spontaneity and instinct, and this feeling, no doubt, played a part in the current revival of Catalan Romanesque and Gothic art. All this is certainly important for opening the way to Negro sculpture in Picasso’s mind, and it may also have some bearing on the fact that there are at least sixteen works of 1901 by Picasso in which children figure, including the well-known ‘L’Enfant au. Pigeon’, ‘Le Gourmand’ and the somewhat primitive ‘La Soupe’.

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Movement One Art Print by Wassily Kandinsky

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Kandinsky Color Study of Squares Circles Poster
Kandinsky Color Study of Squares Circles Poster by made_in_atlantis
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Movement One Print
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Kandinsky Circles in a Circle Painting Poster
Kandinsky Circles in a Circle Painting Poster by made_in_atlantis
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Blue Abstract Poster - Original Abstract Art Print
Blue Abstract Poster – Original Abstract Art Print by made_in_atlantis
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Jazz in New York Vintage Poster

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Jazz-in-New York Vintage Poster
Jazz-in-New York Vintage Poster by longdistgramma
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Matisse Art: On the Road Through Favuism

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Matisse Art: On the Road Through Favuism

Matisse: Begins with impressionism and moves to Fauvism

About 1898, under the influence of impressionism (an art form using dabs of paint in primary colors to create an image representing a brief glance rather than a long study), the colors Matisse used became lighter, as in his seascapes of Belle-Île and landscapes of Corsica and the Côte d’Azur (coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea).

Although impressionist in character, these early works of Matisse already showed a noticeable emphasis on color and simplified forms. Matisse married in 1898 and visited London, England, in the same year to study. On his return to Paris he attended classes at the Académie Carrière, where he met André Derain (1880–1954). Matisse created his first sculptures in 1899.

From 1900 Matisse struggled financially for years. In 1902 the artist, his wife Amélie, and their three children were forced to return to Bohain. In 1903 the Salon d’Automne was founded, and Matisse exhibited there. From 1900 to 1903, under the influence of Paul Cézanne (1839–1906), Matisse produced still lifes and nudes.

In 1904 he had his first one-man show at the gallery of Ambroise Vollard in Paris and spent the summer in Saint-Tropez, France. In 1905 Matisse painted with Derain at Collioure; the works Matisse created there are excellent examples of Fauvism in their bright colors and flat patterning.

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