Derain and His Circle

Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918)
French poet and art theoretician. Derain and Apollinaire met in 1904 and became close friends. Derain illustrated one of Apollinaire's texts, and Apollinaire wrote about Derain and reproduced his works in his periodical Soirées de Paris.

Apollinaire on Derain, 1908:
"Here, sublimely fulfilled, is one of the purest inspirations of our time. Derain’s effort does not disperse itself in luminosity, linearity, or volume. His plastic sincerity is revealed by another means: by the terrible calm with which he expresses himself, passionlessly in conformity with his passions."

André Breton (1896-1966)
The French poet André Breton was the leading theoretical light of the Surrealist movement. Breton's relationship to Derain alternated between unbounded admiration and severe criticism. Breton dedicated several of his texts to Derain, but later expressed a strong and almost sarcastic scepticism about his works.

Breton on Matisse and Derain, 1926: "old lions, discouraged and discouraging. From the forest and the desert, for which they no longer feel any nostalgia, they have finished up in this minuscule arena: grateful to those who have tamed them and let them live."

Henri Matisse (1869-1954)
Derain and the French artist Matisse met in 1899. Matisse helped Derain with contacts in the art world, and together they developed the Fauvist style of painting in 1905. Later Matisse and Derain took different artistic paths, and although they kept up contact, they fell out several times.

Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958)
French artist, writer and musician. Derain and Vlaminck were close friends from their first meeting in 1900. They shared a studio for long periods and their mutual inspiration is reflected in their works. They also had differences of opinion, however, which can be gathered from their long-standing correspondence.

Kahnweiler on Derain and Vlaminck, 1961: "They were not at all as one imagines today the painters of that epoch. They dressed, as we used to say, ’à l’américaine’, with tweed suits in wide check patterns, bowler hats and coloured cravats. A little later, Vlaminck made himself a cravat in wood [..…] that he attached to his collar, it was blue with yellow dots, if I remember correctly. […..] They were both very large and had very strong, wide shoulders […..]. Then of course there were the shoes, the yellow shoes with great thick soles, entirely what at the time one thought of as being American”"

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
The Spanish artist Picasso and Derain were friends, and it was Derain who introduced Picasso to primitive art. They were never quite on the same track artistically, even though they worked side by side for periods of time. They were both inspired by Cézanne, but Derain did not follow Picasso in Cubism's radical dissolution of space. Derain met Alice, his future wife, at Picasso's.

Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (1884-1979)
Ground-breaking German art-dealer and publisher working in Paris. Kahnweiler had contact to the most outstanding artists of the time, and in the 1910s worked with Derain, Picasso and Braque. Because of his German nationality, Kahnweiler's stock was confiscated during the First World War and sold by the French State in the years 1921- 23. Many of Derain's works in Statens Museum for Kunst were purchased at these sales.

Georges Braque (1882-1963)
French artist. Braque saw Derain's Fauvist works at the Salon d'Automne in 1905 and was very inspired by them. Later he met Picasso, and together they developed Cubism. Braque and his wife were among the few faithful friends who kept up contact with Derain after the Second World War.

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Updated: 26.apr.2018
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