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An early 20th-century movement in painting begun by a group of French artists and marked by the use of bold, often distorted forms and vivid colors.

[French fauvisme, from fauve, wild animal, from fauve, wild, reddish-yellow, from Old French falve, reddish-yellow, from Frankish *falw-; see pel- in Indo-European roots.]

fau′vist adj.


an early movement in 20th-century painting characterized by an emphasis on the use of unmixed bright colors for emotional and decorative effect. — Fauvist, n. — Fauve, n., adj.
See also: Art


(c. 1905–07) A shortlived but influential movement of artists surrounding Matisse, characterized by daring, spontaneous handling of paint in bold, brilliant, often nonrepresentational color. “Fauve” means “wild beast,” a critic’s response to a 1905 exhibition of works by Matisse and others.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.fauvism - an art movement launched in 1905 whose work was characterized by bright and nonnatural colors and simple forms; influenced the expressionists
art movement, artistic movement - a group of artists who agree on general principles
References in periodicals archive ?
The rest of Europe saw the Dadaists, Surrealists, Fauvists, Cubists etc along with the artists, Magritte, Picasso (in his more violent paintings) Salvador Dali, Klee and Kokoshka, Miro and others of the same Modernist group, as men and women who were taking art into the 20th century.
In 1905, the exhibition of Fauvists, with Henri Matisse (1869-1954) being the most important among them, introduced the use of nonnaturalistic color to express emotions.
Scott names the Fauvists, the German Expressionists, Philip Guston and Cindy Sherman, among contemporary or relatively modem artists, and earlier artists--Gauguin, Rembrandt--in specific paintings.
I had heard the rumor that fauvists were obsessed with wolves.
Contemporary primitive florals and figures exhibiting a brilliant, jewel-tine palette and decisive brushstroke reminiscent of early Fauvists.