André Derain (1880 – 1954) was a prominent French painter, sculptor, printmaker, and stage designer whose work reflected a vast array of influences and styles. He studied painting at the Académie Carrière with Maurice de Vlaminck whose influence, along with that of his fellow student Henri Matisse, led Derain to become one of the pioneers of the Fauve style of brilliantly-colored, spontaneous landscapes. During this period Derain also created sculptures in wood and stone that were inspired by his interest in the work of Paul Gauguin and his passion for non-Western art. In 1908, he moved away from the Fauve style and began making works that displayed the influence of Paul Cézanne and Cubism. After Derain’s service in World War I, his paintings became increasingly classical and reflected his interest in the art of the Old Masters.
As a printmaker, Derain was prolific. He produced roughly 600 graphic works during his career including woodcuts, etchings, and lithographs. He was a friend of many Symbolist and Surrealist poets, and nearly half of his printed works were created as illustrations to books, include illustrations for works by Max Jacob, Guillaume Apollinaire, Antonin Artaud, André Breton, and Vincent Muselli. His bold, black-and-white woodcuts for Apollinaire’s L’Enchanteur pourrissant (1909) demonstrate the influence of African art on his printmaking. Derain also illustrated classic works by authors such as Petronius and Ovid. The nearly 200 woodcuts he made for the Rabelais’s Pantagruel (1943) are particularly well-known and combine Derain’s interest in Renaissance art with his colorful, modern style.
Books by André Derain available from Boreas Fine Art:
[ Derain, André ] Anacreon. Leconte de Lisle, trans. Odes Anacréontiques. Lyon: Cercle Lyonnais du Livre. 1953.
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