Another Impressionist

Clearly I will not be writing daily! That’s alright. I have been busy with job applications, job interviews, more Netflix than is best, and my 5th wedding anniversary! Besides, the masterpieces du jour over the last few ‘jours’ haven’t been incredibly appealing to me. I’m working AND moving next week, so I have a lot to do–I’ll just get to today’s painting:

The Palace of Westminster (detail) by André Derain, oil on canvas, 1906-7.

I had to do some reading about this artist to understand better the painting. Derain led an interesting life during which he produced art in a variety of styles. This particular painting one might initially identify as Impressionist or neo-Impressionist based on the subject matter and emphasis on light. However, looking at the date of the painting as well as the brilliant and often contrasting colors used–there is little of the Monet softness here–I think the painting is better described as Fauvist, the style with which Derain is most closely associated. Fauvism comes from the French word for ‘wild beasts,’ and one intuitively understands the term after looking at a few fauvist paintings. It isn’t my favorite movement, but it is interesting to look at in historical context. Perhaps it is no surprise that when Derain returned to art after a few years of service in WWI, his style also returned to his training; that is to say he returned to more muted colors and overall classical style. From my cursory reading on his life, it seems he may have died in some disrepute after having visited Nazi Germany and afterwards being labeled a collaborator (thought I am not sure he was one). He is probably one of the few people in the world who have abandoned an education/career in engineering to pursue art, and had it work out for them financially!


That’s all for today.

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