Fauvism and Color Field are two distinct artistic movements that emerged in the 20th century, and while they share a focus on color, their approaches and techniques differ significantly. Fauvism was a movement that emerged in the early 1900s, primarily in France, and was characterized by its use of bright, vivid colors and its bold, expressive brushwork. Color Field painting, on the other hand, developed in the 1950s in America and is characterized by large, abstract areas of color that often lack any overt references to figurative or representational forms.
Fauvism, which was founded by Henri Matisse and André Derain, rejected the traditional, academic approach to painting that had dominated French art for centuries. Instead, Fauvist artists sought to create a more spontaneous, emotional form of art that was more closely aligned with the natural world. To achieve this, they used bold, expressive brushwork, and bright, vibrant colors that were often applied directly from the tube.
The Fauvists’ use of color was a key aspect of their work, and they placed a great deal of emphasis on color relationships and color theory. They were particularly interested in the way that color could convey emotion, and they used color to express a wide range of emotions, from joy and happiness to anger and despair. Their use of color was also closely tied to their interest in the natural world, and they often used colors that were inspired by the landscapes and seascapes of southern France.
In contrast, Color Field painting emerged in the United States in the 1950s and was primarily associated with a group of artists who were working in New York City. These artists, including Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, were interested in creating a new form of abstract art that focused on the relationship between color and space. They rejected the gestural, expressionistic approach of the Fauvists, and instead, they used large, flat areas of color to create a sense of depth and space.
One of the key features of Color Field painting is its focus on the viewer’s experience of the painting. Unlike traditional painting, which often seeks to create an illusion of three-dimensional space, Color Field painting is designed to be experienced as a flat, two-dimensional surface. The large, abstract areas of color are intended to envelop the viewer, creating a sense of immersion and presence.
While Fauvism and Color Field painting are both concerned with color, they approach the use of color in very different ways. Fauvism is characterized by its bold, expressive use of color, which is often applied in thick, impastoed brushstrokes. Color Field painting, on the other hand, is characterized by large, flat areas of color that are carefully balanced and calibrated to create a sense of harmony and balance.
In conclusion, while Fauvism and Color Field painting share an interest in color, they represent very different approaches to the use of color in painting. Fauvism is characterized by its bold, expressive use of color and its focus on the emotional and naturalistic aspects of color, while Color Field painting is characterized by its large, abstract areas of color that are carefully calibrated to create a sense of harmony and balance. Both movements represent important contributions to the development of modern art, and they continue to inspire and influence artists today.
2 thoughts on “An ‘Ism’ Overview – Fauvism vs. Colour Field”
Thankyou for this. I’ve been enjoying your “isms,” and learning much. I’ve been a fan of both fauvism and the color field art for a long while now, probably because how they revel in color, which I do also. It’s a felt experience I get lost in that brings so much pleasure.
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Thank you so much for your comment, Deborah. I’m always grateful to know people are getting something from my writing.