Van Gogh •
|Birth Year :
|Death Year :
André Derain was born in Châtou, a suburb of Paris. Excellent scholar that he was, Derain had first planned to become an
engineer before suddenly deciding to study art at the Académie Julian. He shared a studio with his
friend Vlaminck, painted
with Matisse at Collioure near Marseilles, and was a frequent
visitor to the ramshackle studios on the rue Ravignan, known as the Bateau Lavoir, where his
and Picasso worked. As a Fauve Derain was principally concerned with
line and color and enjoyed squeezing tubes of bright color on his canvas, particularly pinks, blues, and violets. In and
around 1908, Derain turned to the study of form and structure, and experimented with Cubism, Impressionism, and the styles
of van Gogh, Gauguin,
and Cezanne, in an effort to find a style that pleased him.
An early interest in the Renaissance masters led him to a further study of paintings of the past and he went as far back as
the Italian primitives and the Gothic masters. During his years of study he worked as a wood-engraver and illustrated many
famous books, like Rabelais' "Pantagruel", a work indicative of his sensitivity to and understanding of the past. He also
executed a great many sets and costumes for the Ballet Russe. In the later years of his career, after 1920, he painted
brilliant still lives, classical landscapes, and some of the finest portraits of his day, although none of these were ever
exhibited. Derain was a strange, moody, highly intellectual man who disliked the painting produced during his own lifetime
to the extent that he retired to the country to live in almost complete solitude and seemed almost determined to be forgotten.
Early in 1954, when Derain showed symptoms of eye trouble and mental incapacity, he was treated at a clinic near Paris until
he became well enough to return home. Shortly thereafter he was hit by a car on his way home from a nearby garage. Derain
died a few weeks later from shock.